What is it?

Think Instagram + Pinterest + Feed Reader for women:

And here’s the official website.

Why is there a lot of interest in it?

One of the most popular lifestyle bloggers – Joy Cho of Oh Joy! – is part of the team behind it.

Whenever someone talks about improving the blog reading/discovery experience, I’m totally excited about checking the app out!

What are its unique features?

Little clickable dots (“pips”) sitting on top of the images which can contain links, comments or hashtags:

Pippit Screenshot

Links are a big missing feature from Instagram.

Clickable spots overlaid on photos are found on other sites/apps such as Houzz:

Houzz Screenshot

and Polyvore uses rectangular shapes that you see when hovering over images:

polyvore

“Pips” are perfectly suited for affiliate links – which is why they’d be gold on Instagram (and why Facebook may be holding off adding them as they work out how to monetize them).

As a side note, I think that this sort of “pips” feature would be used by many bloggers on their own sites if it were easy enough for them to implement. In almost every instance, I’ve seen collages done by bloggers with a list of links below as the overlaid option is too tricky technically for them to manage. We developed a nice way to do this in WordPress for one client though.

The other point of difference is that there are three categories for your reaction to a post on Pippit: “Like”, “Want” and “Useful”. This is explained as a way of providing more meaning and easier reference for later (but you currently can’t filter by these three).

Personally, I find that pinning items to boards such as “Useful blogging tips” or “Clothes to get for the boys” more descriptive and useful than lumping things all together.

What I have found difficult

The app is promoted as a way to “easily get the latest updates from [your] favorite blogs” on your mobile phones as well as seeing everyday photos and videos in the mix.

“We are hoping it will serve as a mobile version of your RSS reader since so many people read content on their phones these days and need a easy way to see that content.” – Joy Cho

So far, I have found the blogging part of the app to be the least useful.

The types of blogs they’re targeting with this app (e.g. food, lifestyle, fashion, home/d├ęcor) suit Pippit: they’re heavily image-oriented. Not all blogs I follow (or write!) are. Pippit really requires an optimized image for each post and one that works without any title text showing (unless it’s embedded in the image).

As I scrolled through bunches of images in Pippit, I found it hard to know which ones were simply interactive images and which ones were blog posts that I should be reading. I had no idea what the blog posts were about, and how much they related to the image I was seeing.

Can you tell which of the following two images of Joy Cho’s are blog posts and what they’re about?

pippit-screenshot-2

Update: Joy replied to me about this: blog posts have a bluey green line beneath them – didn’t realise that! Still doesn’t clear up what the blog posts are about though.

Blog posts which didn’t have an image in them all came through with a generic park bench photo, which also made things confusing and hard to distinguish between:

Pippit Screenshot

Also of note: you can’t add a blogger’s feed unless they are on Pippit.

I suspect there will be a lot of tweaking of the blog part of Pippit. For now, I’m back to using Feedly to read the blogs I like on my phone (even though there’s not the same social aspects inside the app).

I also don’t like seeing a whole bunch of “I shared a pip.” on Twitter – hopefully that is changed to something more meaningful by people soon! The links generated seem to be broken currently – images are stretched oddly and don’t fit my desktop screen, e.g. see this example.

What are other things to note?

  • It’s only available on iPhone currently and there’s no timeframe yet for Android/Windows mobile.
  • The app is now free (8/5/14). The app costs $1.99US per year.

Let me know your thoughts on Pippit – I think it has a lot of potential and will be following it to see where it goes.

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