Pearltrees is such a product. The French site offers us a new way to explore and contextualize the web. In what looks like a mind map structure, users collect "pearls" (links to articles, videos and web pages) and drag and drop them to form a body of knowledge that folds and expands upon itself. In an interview with Pearltrees CEO Patrice Lamothe, ReadWriteWeb found that company already has a loyal user base including our friends at ReadWriteFrance.
Said Lamothe, "We wanted a type of game play that was playful to use and map the web...and the fact that you can group and ungroup content easily means that you can re-catalogue it and keep it current."
Rather than looking at the web as a series of linear pages, this service lets us build tree graphs of connecting arguments, share them and then break them at any time. Using a browser bookmarking tool, we can add and connect related pearls or ideas, place them within other pearls or start a new pearl tree (or train of thought). Rather than displaying a list of items, your pearls connect to your profile. You are literally the center of the universe and your thoughts follow you wherever you go.
Naturally, as a newly anointed God of information, other great thinkers will gravitate towards you. Shared pearls connect you to others and allow you to view their collections. From here you can choose your favorite content and omit the noise. From here you can email your pearls, embed them in your blog or broadcast them to Twitter and Facebook.
The Future of Touch Interfaces
Given the unique user interface of Pearltrees, Lamothe expects that the company will roll out feature releases and enhancements on an ongoing basis. Says the CEO, "Once we've launched the web interface, the potential of a touch product will be very exciting."
At this point, I almost fell out of my chair thinking about the possibilities. Using Pearltrees in conjunction with a touch interface would be extremely practical. Rather than swiping down long lists of links to find articles, images or videos, users could tap on their desired pearl and follow the connectors to the information they wanted. Not only would this greatly improve the research experience, but it could also change device design.
For some reason, many touch interfaces mimic the experience of the first personal computers. We are offered a series of boxes from which to start our applications with little room for reorganization or prioritization. The Pearltrees model may prove to be the most efficient way to navigate period. To try the product register at pearltrees.com or click on ReadWriteFrance's pearl below.