Flipboard is officially coming to the web. After launching in December of 2010, the magazine-formatted application was previously only accessible to mobile users. Although the company still expects the mobile version to garner most of the attention, it doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned. Mike McCue, the company’s founder, said, “It doesn’t matter if the website cannibalizes native app traffic. We don’t care where the user comes from. We’re trying to curate awesome content on any device, as optimized as possible.”
Since the program is heavily integrated with social media streams such as Facebook and Twitter, users are often redirected to the Flipboard app by a friend or colleague. These scenarios often occur while browsing on a traditional desktop computer, where the touch-optimized interface is admittedly disappointing on the big screen. To address these issues, the web version lets you flip through stories using either a mouse, magic mouse, clickwheel (each click turns the page), or trackpad.
From purely a business standpoint, web compatibility is extremely smart. Advertisers generally dislike web ads since they fail to capture user attention in the same way that print ads do. However, the new Flipboard site closely resembles a high-end magazine; featuring full-page ads intermixed with articles and other content.
Back in March, Flipboard released a nifty DIY tool that allows anyone to design and distribute their own in-app magazine. Although major publishers already had access to this service, the expansion allows everyday enthusiasts to earn some readership too. Nearly two million magazines have been curated since the introduction of the DIY program, appealing to those who lack the necessary expertise to build a successful web page or subsequently monetize the content. Taking this service to the web should further entice aspiring publishers.
The new web version is supported by browsers such as IE9+, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. It is also offered in 11 languages, including English, Chinese, French, German and Japanese.