FLIPBOARD EXISTS IN stark contrast to your Facebook News Feed or Twitter timeline. It doesn’t rely on your high school friends to share whatever junk they’re reading, nor does it ask you to follow the right combination of 800 people. Flipboard’s always been a quieter place that you can fill with news stories you like.
Today, Flipboard is rolling out a brand-new version of its platform that introduces what it calls “Smart Magazines.” These topic-based sections of the app can learn what you like based on your reading habits. Think of it like a Spotify Daily Mix playlist: a bunch of things for you to read, on a topic you enjoy, automatically generated for you every time you go back.
An example: I’ve been trying to learn more about wine. (Somehow drinking it excessively feels more acceptable if I can speak grandly about the wine in the process.) So I set up a smart magazine by choosing the topic “wine.” (You could also choose cooking, or politics, or kittens, or thousands of other things.) Flipboard then asks me to drill down a bit, to give it a sense of what I’m interested in: California wine, or cabernets, or wine cellars. I pick a few, and Flipboard automatically populates a flippable list of stories I might like about wine. As I read, the app learns more about which topics and publications I like, and further tunes the magazine to my interests. Every time I go back, there’s new stuff waiting for me.
You can also build your own Smart Magazine, which is a particularly cool power-user feature. Pick your three favorite YouTubers, your six favorite websites, and the only three good people on Twitter—Flipboard will put it all in one easily readable place.
All the standard Flipboard stuff still applies, of course. You can curate your own magazines and share them with others, you can follow publications, and you can share stuff inside and outside the app. But using the Smart Magazines feels different, and better somehow.
The app’s a welcome respite from the never-ending grab-bag of social networks. It’s not a perfect news tool, and doesn’t have its finger on the pulse of the internet, but who cares? Sometimes it’s nice to just have a place to read about wine and catch up on the latest sweet videos of puppies jumping off of stuff. We all need a break from the never-ending chaos of the internet (and life in 2017), and sometimes your very own wine magazine is just exactly what you need.