Flipboard, an online and mobile service that allows readers to explore content from around the web in a beautiful magazine-style layout as well as create topical, mobile magazines of their own, is today expanding its curation abilities with the debut of “Private Group Magazines.” As the name implies, these new magazines will only be visible to those members of a private group – meaning only those invited to collaborate on the magazine will be able to view the magazine or contribute content.
While the company originally got its start by offering a different way for users to read through web content from social services, news sites and RSS feeds, its ability to allow users to build their own magazines and share them with others has proven to be one of Flipboard’s more popular features in more recent months. Today, there are over 15 million public magazines created using Flipboard, the company reports, ranging from those built by individual users up to major online publishers who are curating their own content and more. Topics for these public magazines run the gamut, including subjects like food, style, fashion, health, business, technology, architecture, humor, autos, photography, and much more.
Today, Flipboard explains that the new private magazines will make sense for family, friends, clubs, or even work colleagues who want to document events, research topics of interest, or share ideas among a smaller group.
The process of building a private magazine is similar to creating a public one, with just a small change. You first tap the plus button at the bottom-right of any story on Flipboard to start your magazine, then add a title and description, so the group knows what they should focus on collecting. Afterward, you’ll select “Private” in order to limit the magazine’s visibility, so no one on the service outside of those you invite can find it. On the following screen, you’ll have the option to invite contributors.
In addition, an “Invite Contributor” button now appears on the cover of magazines, too, making it easier for any magazine creator to collaborate with others.
With the update, Flipboard is taking its own stab at participating in the trend toward more private sharing that’s occurring across a number of social media sites today. Flipboard says that, before its launch today, its own team had been using this private magazine functionality internally in order to share stories with each other than were relevant to their business.
Others who may want find the new feature relevant include teachers sharing articles with their class, a family sharing photos, book clubs, or companies sharing press coverage or customer feedback, suggests Flipboard.
The company also disclosed this morning its most popular magazines to date based on various metrics, including most likes (Cute), most re-flips (Fit in 2015), most comments (Think Tanking), and most followers (How To Style).
Private magazines are now available on Flipboard via the web, or on the company’s mobile app for iOS, Android or Windows phone. The updated mobile app on iOS also includes details of the company’s forthcoming Apple Watch app, noting that it will allow users to see their top 10 stories along with a quick summary and Force Touch support that will allow you to save or send stories to friends.