Since the launch of personalized magazines this March, social magazine maker Flipboard has added 6 million new users to its platform, bringing its total number of users to 56 million – and that’s before the feature even arrived on Android, which now comprises roughly half of Flipboard’s user base. Today, that changes as the personalized magazine option arrives on Android phones and tablets, alongside the launch of a new web-based magazine editor designed with the needs of curators and publishers in mind.
Android users have a couple of unique options, including the ability to “flip” items from other native applications such as YouTube, the browser, or their own photo gallery, into Flipboard. The updated app is also now making use of Facebook Single Sign-On for registration, the company notes.
In addition, while previously a mobile-first and generally mobile-only company, the launch of the online magazine management tool shows that Flipboard is carefully considering how it should proceed when it comes to the web. The company has previously acknowledged that there are challenges with Flipboard’s magazine sharing features – that is, when someone tweets or posts a link to a Flipboard magazine on the web, it can be inconvenient for those who click that link from their non-mobile device.
For example, if you click on a link to Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue’s awesome “Metazine” magazine (a magazine of magazines!) at http://flip.it/qyXu1 on the web, you’ll only be taken to a landing page which directs you to download the app to your mobile devices for access. This is something the team is working through now.
As Flipboard head of product Eugene Wei explains, the web has mainly served as a companion to Flipboard’s mobile and tablet applications to date. “But,” he adds, “we think the web is super important, and we plan to do more on the web over time…I think a lot of our partners want things like embeddable buttons or badges to help drive more viewership to their magazines,” Wei says. He points out, too, that the Flipboard has a limited web presence with its web browser add-on, the Flip It button.
The new web interface for magazine management is a good first step in thinking about what role the web should play in this mobile-first company. On the newly launched site, editor.flipboard.com, users can create, edit and share their magazines much as they could previously on mobile, as well as take advantage of new, web-only options, like re-ordering the stories, photos and videos within their magazine, deleting content, or even changing the order of the magazines under their account.
Flipboard also announced today that The Financial Times has launched on its platform. FT.com subscribers will get unlimited access to FT content on Flipboard, while other Flipboard users will be able to access FT blogs and videos. This is the second major media publication to offer paid subscriptions through Flipboard, following The New York Times’ subscription debut last summer.
CEO Mike McCue had hinted at this Android release during his chat at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013. At that time, he also shared that users had now created over 1 million magazines using the new tool, and some of those might even be worth paying for in the future.
Whether or not some of the upcoming analytics features for publishers will also be worth paying for, however, has yet to be determined, says Wei. He notes that the stats and measurements Flipboard will offer curators today on the new Editor interface will become more robust in the future, informing magazine creators what stories work for their readers, what other types of stories or magazines they read or curate themselves, and how readership data is trending over time.
To manage your own Flipboard magazines from the web, you can sign in to the Editor interface here.