Fresh off of its Apple Design Award win, photo-sharing app Storehouse is launching some new discovery features today. The app has previously relied on a single “home” screen to show you some interesting photo and video stories, but is expanding that with “explore” and “story of the day” sections.
The new Explore section can be viewed as a grid or the (familiar to Storehouse users) traditional slideshow format. This is the first time the depths of the hundreds of thousands of existing stories on the platform are really being plumbed, and it shows off the cool stuff people are doing with it well. Stories about travel, food, family and social issues sit side-by-side with school reports, recipes and detailed ‘maker’ instructions. The Story of the Day section is a curated version of Explore hand-picked by Storehouse staff to show off cool content.
The Home section is also now populated by stories from the users you follow, rather than suggested content, which creates a feedback loop that will encourage people to pick cool creators.
In addition, there are new user profiles that provide some context on the stories that people are liking and recombining, as well as everything a user posts. The expansion of identity fits in with the theme of exposing the existing network of stories in a more forward manner. While you could theoretically view any stories created by an individual before, the new pages craft a real feeling of ownership for the user for the first time, which is a nice step towards getting people to really care about the stories they’re recommending — and taking pride in what they’ve uploaded.
I do wish that the app had also introduced an ‘asynchronous like’ of sorts, which would let you bookmark stories for later reading without actually ‘recommending’ them. When I asked Storehouse founder Mark Kawano about it, he says that this was an intentional omission because the current iteration of Storehouse is completely public. Introducing a partially private bookmarking functionality would muddy the waters before they’re ready to tackle the idea of privacy on the network.
For now, everything on Storehouse is considered public and viewable from the app or from the web-sharing links. That will help growth and discovery but could prevent some users from jumping in and sharing private stories just with family or friends.
In addition to the discovery changes, you can now click on links in stories, which Kawano says was a big user request. This could be helpful when it comes to recipes or stories based on passing on information or education. Drafts now auto-save locally to the iPad as well, making it less likely that you’ll lose your work while creating a story.