I have been using the Flipboard on iPad for a week. Yes, I am VERY late to arrive on this. I am like that sometimes, failing to register an important technical trend. I am still unable to appreciate the usefulness of Facebook, for example, although I have been a registered user for over a year now.
I must say that I find Flipboard extraordinarily interesting and useful. It has changed the way I read texts of interest. I mainly browse through the news and tech sections. The way relevant sources are curated and brought to my fingertips provides an interesting insight into how the meshed up web will evolve in the future.
I read somewhere that “every millisecond counts” was the hidden ethos among engineers at Google. When you search something, it is important to return the results as quickly as possible. It is not computation, it is also about the user experience. If you extend that logic to modes of sensorimotor interaction on the web in general, you begin to see why and how an application like Flipboard is a substantial innovation.
Even if you could have arrived at more or less a similar list of information sources through traditional search engines, the ebb and flow of the pages curated through Flipboard provides a completely different user experience.
Traditional ways of “gathering” information on the web begin to pale and fade in the face of Flipboard. It is interesting to witness the latest innovations happening on the web in the direction of enriching user experiences in general. A company which does not regard user experience as an integral part of its business is prone to fail in the coming era. A few names come across one’s mind.