Pearltrees: Visual Collaborative Web Browsing Interface

I am with the Traveling Geeks at Pearltrees’ headquarter in Paris, I already published about Pearltrees a few months ago when it was in pre- alpha, but the public beta will launch in two days at LeWeb.

Pearltrees is a visual collaborative web browsing interface: users browse the internet visually using “Pearls” that represent websites and, by connecting them, they create a network of interest, I call it the “interest graph”. The social networking component, allows users to follow each other and use other people pearls to build their “interest graph”, they can collaborate to create a common tree with pearls shared among many people.

With the Pearltress-Twitter sync feature users automatically build pearls by tweeting urls on Twitter, and automaticallt tweet urls by creating pearls in Pearltree, it will launch in two days.

Most political bloggers like Rue 89, the “French Huffington Post” and major online newspaper such as Le Monde use the embed pearls feature: they can display a mini interest graph related to a topic, it allows reader to quickly browse related websites from the Pearltrees visual interface directly from an article page.

Ewan Spence asked an interesting question: what about the mobile version? This is very well suited for laptop or desktop usage but it may not be practical on a small screen. Pearltrees mobile version is very different from the desktop version: there are no Pearls, it is a very basic interface where users can browse web pages. An updated version with a similar visual interface will be develop later, when phones will allow a good web browsing experience, such as the one we have on the iPhone.

“The typical user is very surprising” said Fabrice Lamothe, Pearltrees co-founder: one third of the users are geeks, one third are bloggers and social media people, and one third are young, less than 30 years old and absolutely not geek at all, with a majority of women. Some women use Pearltrees to plan their shopping collaboratively: they build a tree of places to go and send it back and forth to each other with the share/send option, and each participant add their pearls. The potential revenue model will be advertising with highly targeted content and premium services. Pearltrees right can serve about 200,000 users for 2000 dollars in infrastructure costs, according to Patrice Lamothe, one of the co- founders.

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