Pearltrees

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Pearltrees
Available in English / French
Owner Broceliand, S.A.S.[1]
Created by Patrice Lamothe,[2] Francois Rocaboy, Alain Cohen, Samuel Tissier and Nicolas Cynober
Revenue The company is currently generating revenue via its Freemium/Premium business model[3]
Website pearltrees.com
Alexa rank 6788 Globally, 1142 in France[4]
Registration Required for full functionality
Launched Public Alpha March, 2009[5] Open Beta, December 2009[6]
Current status Open beta[7]

Pearltrees refers to itself as "a place for your interests".[8] Functionally the product is a visual and collaborative curation tool[9][10][11][12] that allows users to organize, explore and share any URL they find online as well as to upload personal photos, files and notes.[13] The product features a unique visual interface[14][15] that allows users to drag and organize collected URLs, and other digital objects.[16] that themselves can be further organized into collections and sub-collections,[17] (URLs). Users of the product can also engage in social/collaborative curation using a feature called Pearltrees Teams.[18]

Pearltrees claims to be among the first companies to provide an exposed interest graph.[19] The company's mission is to help users "Democratize Organization of Knowledge"[20] As part of the product's social features, Pearltrees users can synchronize their accounts with both Twitter and Facebook. This bi-directional functionality supports the collection of new pearls each time a link is shared or tweeted. New links added to user accounts and new collections created by users can also be broadcast via a user's Twitter and Facebook accounts if users have enabled this feature. Users can also embed a collection into most CMS products including WordPress blogs, Drupal websites, Typepad blogs and others.[21]

Pearltrees was founded by Patrice Lamothe, CEO,[22] Alain Cohen, CTO,[23] Nicolas Cynober, Technical Director,[24] Samuel Tissier, Ergonomy/UI[25] and Francois Rocaboy, CMO.[26]

History[edit]

Development of Pearltrees began in 2007. An alpha was launched in March 2009[27] and made its first significant public appearance (in open beta) At LeWeb in December 2009.[28][29][30] According to CEO and Founder Patrice Lamothe he laid out the rationalization for this company in his blog post, "The Web's Third Frontier" where he proposed that the next logical phase of the Internet was the democratization of the organization of the web, after the successive advents of the access to content and the democratization of content creation.[31]

At the 2010 Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Pearltrees introduced the ability to "super-embed" a pearltree into another website.[32] Pearltrees that have been embedded in other sites are updated dynamically whenever the original pearltree has been changed within the Pearltrees website.

In December 2010 Pearltrees made their initial foray into collaborative curation with the launch of a new "team" feature.[33] The team feature allows users of the product to request to team-up on pearltrees that have already been curated by other users of the product. Once added to a team these additional curators are then able to add, remove and reorganize the content of that and any sub-pearltrees as well as to add new members to the team.[34]

In October 2011 Pearltrees introduced Pearltrees for iPad.[35] The product was well received by a number of technology bloggers including Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb[36] and Martin Bryant of TheNextWeb[37] As of May 2012, Pearltrees for iPad has maintained an overall 4.5 star rating in Apple's iPad App Store.[38]

In July 2012 Pearltrees launched their iPhone app. Like its predecessor product for the iPad, the app was well received by the media and also received praise from users. As a result, the application currently enjoys a 4.5 star rating in Apple's App Store [39] In addition to curating links, Pearltrees 0.9.3 version also allows contributors to add photos and notes to their accounts. The product also features a new "offline-mode" that supports the browsing of all collected content regardless of whether the phone is connected to a network or not.[40][41][42]

On October 31, 2012, Pearltrees simultaneously launched a 1.0 version and a premium membership product called Pearltrees Premium.[43] The 1.0 version of Pearltrees features several upgrades to the web interface, most visibly to the way content is displayed; a new format the company calls "the big pearl window". Better congruence of the application across platforms is another stated improvement of the Pearltrees 1.0 experience[44] The launch of Pearltrees Premium represents the company's first efforts to monetize their product. The core benefit of a premium membership is the ability to keep all or a portion of an account completely private or to share it only with a few selected collaborators. Premium accounts can also be protected with a PIN on iOS devices.[45]

The company released their first Android version of Pearltrees[46] on July 9, 2013.[47] The new app lets users collect, organize, share and discover content from 98.6% of the current Android platform (every version except Eclair)[48] and works on approximately 2500 of the 3400 devices that run on the Android OS. The Android version also leverages the share-intents capability built into the Android platform,[49] allowing users to create pearls from content within other Android apps.[50][51] The app was named an app of the week by Gizmodo the same week the product launched.[52]

Support for uploading and accessing files from any device was added to the product in an update released on the web and the GooglePlayStore[53] on November 21, 2013. The latest version of Pearltrees allows users to upload and organize personal files of any type and organize them in conjunction with URL's, notes and photos.[54][55][56] The update also added file storage limits specific to each of four account types as follows: Free accounts give users 250 meg of storage, Personal accounts 5Gig, Advanced accounts 25Gig and Professional accounts 100Gig.[57]

Pearltrees introduced Pearltrees 2.0 on May 22, 2014. The 2.0 version of Pearltrees features a new interface the company calls the "dynamic grid". The company also announced their move away from Flash to HTML 5 as well as major updates to the company's iOS and Android apps. The revised product features extended drag and drop capabilities as well as new options to share content including to Reddit, Tumblr and LinkedIn in addition to the product's existing sharing capabilities to Twitter, Facebook and via email and embeds.[9][10][11][12]

The release of Pearltrees 2.0 was controversial with many users over the elimination of the "mind mapping" features that where a central theme to Pearltrees 1.0. In Pearltrees 1.0 users could build and collaborate their links in freeform hierarchies displayed on screen as a forking "tree" of links and content elements. While users can still organize their content in containers they are no longer displayed as a "tree" and the complex abstraction of relationships, simplified by the mind maps, is not supported except in a 'check back' display mode. The iPad app does not support the "check back" to Pearl 1.0 hierarchies. The company has made no clear statement if the mind-mapping interface will be supported going forward but has stated clearly that their business model is focused on collaboration of web contact and it was felt that the new interface made Pearltrees more accessible to a wider base of users who may have been previously turned off by the added complexity of mind mapping their content.

Usage[edit]

Pearltrees allows registered contributors to add anything they like: web pages, photos, notes, files and even snippets of other web pages to their accounts in the following ways:[58]

  • dragging and dropping items from the desktop or from another web page directly into the browser tab where Pearltrees is open
  • using the "add" dialog and pasting the URL, or uploading the photo, note or file
  • with the Pearltrees browser extension (Pearltrees has specific extension for Chrome, Firefox, and IE and a bookmarklet that functions on most popular alternative browsers)browser extension or add-on
  • via Twitter and Facebook by using Pearltrees sync to connect with other social services tweeted Facebook
  • users of Pearltrees' apps for iPad iPhone and Android can capture URLs using a bookmarklet or by entering the URL directly into a dialog box within the app itself.

The product also allows users to curate collaboratively using the "team" feature. Teams can include two or more members. A number of the more popular teams in the product appear to have well in excess of 50 individuals curating a common topic.[59][60]

In addition to teaming up with other users of the product, Pearltrees allows a more passive means of following another user's pearltrees. The company's "pick" feature allows a user to copy a pearltree to their own account. When this action is taken, the user who added this pearltree to their own account is essentially subscribed to that pearltree. As the tree is enlarged, reorganized or pruned, the user that has picked it will see these same changes reflected in the picked pearltree as they happen; in effect this is a "subscription" to another user's curation of a topic.

Communication amongst users of the product is supported in several ways. Comments can be left by anyone on any individual pearl or pearltree. Private messages can also be sent between any two people that have at least one pearl (URL) in common between their accounts. Teams each have their own unique private message board that is visible only to members of a given team. Users can also share pearls or pearltrees within the product or via share-points that feature prominently within Pearltrees user interface. Sharing to Facebook, Twitter, individual email addresses and directly from one user to another are supported.[61] Users can also extract an embed code and past it into blogs and other content management systems.

Pearltrees claims to have created one of the first exposed interest graphs on the web.[62] When a user of the product enters the "discovery mode", they are presented with a cluster of pearltrees that the company claims are closely related to the central pearltree by virtue of commonalities between their respective accounts. As the UI is dragged with the mouse (or in the case of the iPad app, with a finger) more pearltrees will appear. The further out one navigates from the original central pearltree, the further away from the original topic the pearltrees that begin to appear become. As an example, should a central pearl in discovery mode be "autism", adjacent pearls would likely be "ADHD", "Asperger's", "dyslexia", etc., while pearltrees potentially found somewhat further from the center might include those on cancer, behavior, psychology and more.

There are a number of notification elements in Pearltrees. These include notifications a user receives when their content has been "picked" by another user. They will also be notified when they receive a team-up request or when another member of one of their teams adds additional members or content to a team pearltree. Notifications are also given within the product whenever new pearls have been added to a user's pearltrees. These notifications appear in two distinct "feeds" within the product; "notifications" and "news" respectively and can also be received via email depending upon how a user chooses to configure their external notification options.

The iPad version of Pearltrees is generally very similar to the web-based version of the product, although it has a number of limitations resulting from things such as the screen size of the iPad. Multi touch is well supported in the iPad version of Pearltrees. Pinching to zoom, holding a pearl to relocate it to another section of any account and navigation of the discovery screens take significant advantage of the iPad's tactile interface.

Privacy[edit]

Within the Pearltrees product, every link collected in every account is fully public; however, the company is on record as saying that it plans to introduce granular privacy features in the future as on aspect of their monetization strategy.[63]

Privacy features were added to the product in October 2012 as part of a premium feature-set. The premium product allows users to create private pearltrees as well as private teams. Users with premium accounts are able to share their private pearltrees with other non-premium members.[64]

Demographics[edit]

According to Alexa, Pearltrees has a nearly 50/50 gender distribution. The audience of the site skews younger with the 18–24-year-old and 25–34-year-old segments being most significant. Users tend to have above average education with a higher than average (compared to overall Internet statistics) number of users with a postgraduate education.[65]

Growth[edit]

Pearltrees has maintained a consistent rate of growth of 15% per month since launch. The company reached an initial milestone of 10,000 users in December 2009 shortly after launching the product at LeWeb in Paris. Less than a year and a half later, the Pearltrees community had increased tenfold as reported in a number of technology blogs including SiliconAngle.[66]

Pearltrees claims to be one of the largest communities of curators on the web;[67] by December 2011, the company claimed to have over 300,000 registered users and as of March 2012 the number had increased to over 400,000.[citation needed]

The company also claims to have broken the one million unique visitors per month barrier in January 2012 and to have received in excess of 30,000,000 page views that same month.[citation needed]

Business[edit]

Pearltree has to date secured $12.2 million in Angel and Venture funding in 4 separate rounds: The company received an initial one million Euro investment from friends, family and angel investors in June 2008. This was followed by a second, larger angel round of €1.5M in June 2009. The company secured an additional €1.3M in angel funding in June 2010[68] and raised a substantial A-round of $6.6 million (USD) in January 2012.[69] To date this brings the total raised to $12.2 million USD.[70]

Investors[edit]

The company has generally revealed little about its sources of funding and has never sought or received investment from typical venture funds or any US investors. To date, only two investors/investment groups have been named as having contributed capital to the startup, Pierre Kosciusko Morizet[71] and Group Accueil.[72][73]

Awards[edit]

In 2010 Pearltrees was one of six companies to participate in the Web 2.0 Expo Launchpad competition.[74] The company was also called "A Leap Forward"[75] by OSEO.[76]

Browser Extensions[edit]

  • Pearltrees "Pearler" for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple's Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer supports the collection of content directly from the browser. The pearler enables placement of a link directly into the account of the user. Function varies depending upon the browser, but generally allows: collection of links into the product's "drop-zone", a temporary storage for links not yet placed into a specific location within a user's account, placement of links to a specified folder or sub-folder within an account, creation of new folders and sub-folders, and navigation directly to the root of an account or a particular location within an account. The iOS version of the product requires the installation of a bookmarklet.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Crunchbase Patrice Lamothe
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  5. ^ Lamothe, Patrice, Pearltrees Launches Public Alpha Cratyle.net Mar 2009
  6. ^ Lardinois, Frederic, Pearltrees Launches Public Beta at LeWeb ReadWriteWeb, December 2009
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  21. ^ Pearltrees Blog, Embed a Living Pearltree into your Website Retrieved May 13, 2012
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External links[edit]