Webnote: Browsing Made Social

Everything that we do nowadays is somehow connected to our social networks: we get new content from Twitter, we share things on Facebook, we reblog things from Tumblr; so why not just make our iPad web browsing experience a social network in itself?

That’s where Webnote comes in. It’s a brand new iPad app that parts from the concept that everything that we do around the web is social nowadays, so why not make your browsing experience sharing-enabled? Interesting, right? Let’s check it out!

Webnote by HopIn

Webnote

Webnote

You can think of Webnote as a web browser with integrated social features. It’ll work like your Safari browser most of the time, but if you really like an article or a photo that you’ve found, you have the option to store it or share it with other people. That’s where it gets social: you can follow and interact with other people who can in turn see what you’ve posted lately.

Getting started with it is pretty easy, it goes for free on the App Store and once you’ve got it installed, creating an account is as easy as connecting either your Facebook or your Twitter account. There’s a short video when you first start up Webnote that explains how to start using it, then afterwards you’re free to go!

The Browser

Browser

Browser

The one thing about the app that is still very rocky for me is how it’s built as an independent web browser. Personally, this makes this app harder to spend time on, since I use Chrome for keeping my bookmarks, credentials and open tabs in sync across all my devices, including my iPad. In Webnote I don’t even have access to my bookmarks seeing as there’s absolutely no way to import them.

The browser itself is simple but it works fine. It doesn’t have any fancy features other than tab browsing, but it also won’t break any of your pages or prevent you from watching videos. Under the settings you can find stuff like Private Browsing and options for clearing your cache and history, but that’s about it.

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Of course, sharing is at the core of this app and integrated into anything you do. If you find any piece of content worth storing or sharing, be it text, images, video, or a whole webpage, you can double tap it and a sharing dialog will appear with sharing options such as posting it to Twitter and/or Facebook, keeping it private, and adding a note to it.

Once you’ve shared something, it’ll go up in your timeline where other people can see a thumbnail of it (if it isn’t private) along with your footnote on it, as well as comment on it and like it. This is all managed through the “social” sidebar, where you can find people to follow, view your profile, explore what’s new and check your interactions.

Timeline

Timeline

This sidebar of the app provides a similar experience to Tumblr, in that content is shown in a linear stream where you can choose to reblog to your followers what you like, save them to your private feed, or open the original page where they came from.

Should You Use It?

Profile

Profile

Webnote‘s idea is great, but its execution fails in a few aspects. Firstly: the social network aspect of it. It’s built upon a good idea, but I can’t see a lot of people adapting to it right away, which will make it essentially just an app where you can store website notes and if you’d like, share your findings immediately to Twitter and Facebook; but I don’t see a lot of people going into the app to see what their friends are liking. Kevin Whipps put it best on his Vine piece a few weeks ago: there’s just not enough space for yet another social network in the life of many of us.

Then there’s the stand-alone browser aspect that I mentioned earlier: if you want to take full advantage of this app, you’re gonna have to switch your browser and adapt to this new one. And that might be something very hard to do for some of us that like to take advantage of things like bookmark toolbars or device syncing.

Conclusion

Webnote presents itself as an interesting concept, but the utility aspect of it still needs to be put to test with a widespread release. If plenty of people start using it and constantly sharing content, it might become an essential tool for making web browsing social. Otherwise, there might not be much difference between this app and other similar services like Tumblr or Pinterest.

Right now being the only person I know that’s using it, I am thinking that it would work better as some sort of browser extension, although that would be really hard to pull off on the iPad. But that’s a different Apple topic, and we won’t get into the tired point of Safari extensions for the iPad.

Webnote is releasing widespread today, so why don’t you go check it for yourself? And make sure to come back and tell us what you think about it!


Summary

Webnote is a web browser that also doubles as a social network for sharing content such as images, text and video.

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