Account-required Pinterest app complements website, but doesn’t stand on its own

May 22, 2011
Tech

If you don’t have a Pinterest account, go no further. Pinterest — which allows users to create a virtual pinboard of photos, items and ideas for later reference — is still in beta, and although you can join the wait list through the Pinterest app for iPhone and iPod Touch, there’s no telling when you’ll […]

If you don’t have a Pinterest account, go no further. Pinterest — which allows users to create a virtual pinboard of photos, items and ideas for later reference — is still in beta, and although you can join the wait list through the Pinterest app for iPhone and iPod Touch, there’s no telling when you’ll get an invite. I suggest waiting until your account is up and running before downloading this app.

I haven’t been a Pinterest user long — in fact, I had to seek out an invite to write this review, but I’ve already flipped for the web-based service (sorry for the overload of posts, friends). But as enamored as I am of the website, I found myself let down by the Pinterest app — at least when I considered it as a standalone product. Pinterest can’t replace the service’s normal website, something I typically look for in an app, but it does work well when you view it as a companion to the dot-com. Pinterest enthusiasts looking for mobile web pinning won’t find it in this app. (There is a way to add the bookmarklet to mobile Safari, but this is unrelated to the app itself). Instead, the Pinterest app is really designed to help users capture inspiration and items found in real life, using the in-line camera. After taking an image, or pulling one from your library (consider saving web images to your camera roll if you have to pin ASAP), users can choose to add a filter to the image, write a description, and then slot it into your board of choice.

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Current Pinterest users should have no problems getting started with the app — log in and it’ll pull in all your existing account information, but although the app recently updated to include a search function, the “Following” section needs work. This is where users will find their friends’ activity and re-pin items or leave comments, but Pinterest simply doesn’t load enough history to be of much use, especially for those in pin-obsessed communities. My following tab would only load the past 17 to 20 posts (and this includes items I posted), whereas the website offered up hundreds of items from my friends. The activity tab also seemed like a misuse of space.

I’m a big fan of Pinterest, and I think it’s a phenomenally useful service, but users won’t want to rely solely on the app to get their pinning fix.

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