Few startups make it through a year without a pivot or two these days. That really can’t be said about social bookmarking service Pearltrees, however. The company has stuck pretty closely to its roadmap ever since its launch in 2009. After launching on the web, Peartrees is now available on the iPad and, starting today, on the iPhone. Ever since its launch, the company wanted to provide its users with a library of what they discover online and create a community of people based on their common interests. Until now, that mostly meant sharing bookmarks, but the new iPhone app significantly broadens this concept to also include photos and short notes. In addition, the updated universal iOS apps now also cache a user’s libraries for offline access (including the text on any website they bookmark).
While the company obviously adjusted the app’s design to accommodate the iPhone’s smaller screen, the overall look and feel hasn’t changed much. The focus is still on the highly visual interface that lets you easily organize your bookmarks, photos and notes (or “pearls” in the company’s parlance) in a mind map-like tree diagram interface.
Since the launch of the iPad app, Pearltrees has also started to put a stronger emphasis on helping users discover other relevant content on the site based on their own interest graphs. Just like the iPad app, the new iPhone app also prominently features this “discover” mode as well.
Just like the iPad app, the iPhone app shows how Pearltrees is clearly meant to be used with a touch interface. While the earlier apps, however, purely focused on saving bookmarks and collaborating around them in small teams, this new version now makes full use of the iPhone’s capabilities by adding photo sharing and note-taking features.
This version also introduces an offline mode that caches a user’s pearls on the device for offline browsing. Users can continue to edit and organize their libraries without an Internet connection and the information will be synced to the company’s servers once the device has a connection to the Internet again.
These new features, however, would clearly also be very useful for users who don’t want to share their pictures and notes with the public. The good news is this is also a feature that’s on Pearltrees’ roadmap. Indeed, the company will likely use this feature to start monetizing this service by charging a small fee to users who want private Pearltrees.
Pearltrees says it now has about half a million active users. The company has raised just under $12 million in venture funding since its launch, including a $6.6 million round earlier this year.