If Pulse wants to carve its niche as a social mobile news reader, allowing you to read the news that your friends are sharing is a step in the right direction. The mobile app announced and released its newly updated Android and iPhone app today and it marks a shift to curate personalized news from around the Web with the help of your social network.
Pulse will now integrate Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and Facebook. Articles from your Facebook friends and Tumblr blogs that you’re following can be all housed conveniently in Pulse’s platform. There’s no dramatic visual redesign, like what may have shocked you when Pulse 3.0 first came out. Instead when you connect Facebook or Tumblr by signing into those accounts via Pulse, the app dedicates a left-to-right scrollable tile for these social networks like it does for the publications saved to your home page.
What’s a stretch about this update is the integration of these sources that aren’t just text-based (and video) media. Pulse introduced video channels just seven months ago indicating that it was willing to diversify its platform. So adding YouTube videos from your account isn’t farfetched. And besides, you can watch what’s happening around the world since the first thirty partners included The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, The Guardian, and other news outlets. On the other hand, Pulse’s shift toward curating your Flickr and Instagram images is news from far left field. Design-wise, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube videos get sections of their own, just like Facebook and Tumblr do, all of which are populated by content that you’ve subscribed to or your friends are sharing. You can add these social feeds to Pulse by tapping the blue “Add Content” button at the bottom of your feed or in the side-swipeable left-hand navigation page.
Pulse co-founder, Akshay Kothari, explained the company’s strategy in a blog post, and we’re getting the sense that Pulse is starting to distinguish itself apart from the likes of Flipboard. “Fast-forward to today, we now see a lot of people painfully switching between social networks to get their favorite content,” Kothari said. “But hopping across social networks is so 2012, and who wants to live in the past?”
Should we see Pulse as a third-party social media client? Not quite. For now and in the immediate future, Pulse has its sights set on becoming an all-in-one hub for all the content you’d otherwise consume elsewhere.