February 10, 2015 Last Updated 3:34 pm

Flipboard launches desktop edition of its popular ‘personal magazine’ aggregator

Users can read their aggregated magazines on the desktop, but links to the actual articles go to the publisher’s own website rather than being reformatted with in the same window

The mobile digital magazine app Flipboard today unveiled its web version. The big difference between the website and the app is that stories go directly to the publishers website rather than are reformatted as in the smartphone and tablet versions.

Flipboard-iMacThere is, of course, a reason for this. Just as many publishers are questioning the wisdom of initially allowing Flipboard to access their content for free, these same publishers now fear the loss of web traffic if Flipboard hangs on to the traffic. Getting the cat back into the bag will be hard.

Users who have Flipboard accounts now can simply log into the website and access the same content they have on their digital devices. But the links will lead to the source of the original content, which I think will matter to many readers as the whole point of Flipboard is to aggregate content from different sources into one, consistently designed personal magazine.

“With Flipboard everywhere, millions more people can experience it for the first time while current readers can catch up on the news they care about and collect stories into magazines anytime, anywhere,” the company said on its blog.

In July of 2013 Flipboard made a tentative move to the desktop, allowing users to share their magazines to the desktop, but it was not quite the same as today’s full feature web version.

“This release transforms Flipboard from a mobile download to a ubiquitous service, a single place to follow everything you’re interested in,” said Mike McCue, Flipboard CEO and co-founder. “For the past five years we’ve been crafting smarter and more beautiful designs with each release. We’re shipping some truly breakthrough interactions between design and technology. When we first started Flipboard we could not have built it for the Web because desktops and browsers just weren’t powerful enough.”

Now, however, Flipboard really is more transparently competing with publishers as they will soon be attracting advertising for the same content magazine and newspaper publishers are also trying to attract.

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