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iPad for Marketing app review – StreamGlider

March 6, 2012

After an off-again/on-again rollout, the StreamGlider app is back on the market. Featuring a free, standard version as well as an ad-free pro version, it’s one of the latest entrants in the pantheon of news-and-social-media aggregators.  How does it stack up against other go-to apps, such as Flipboard, Livestand, and Pulse?

The app opens to a clean matrix of images and headlines panning from left to right. Streams are stacked vertically down the page like filmstrips.  Each stream is a different category – news, sports, tech, images – and each frame in the filmstrip is a feed.

Customizing streams and feeds is easy with intuitive, tap-to-add navigation. If the feed a user wants to add is featured on the landing pane, then they’re in luck – with a tap it appears in their stream. However, as the list of featured content providers is only about eight advertisers long, most likely users will need to browse for content at some point.

And this is where the app stumbles. While the app includes standard browsing buckets, several buckets don’t have many feeds from which to choose. If feeds readers wants are not on the list, they’ll need to do a search. But if their feed doesn’t advertise with StreamGlider, it won’t show up in a search.  I tried all sorts of feed names and URLs, well known and obscure, and not one of them came up lucky.  Even a search of “baseball” – an active topic with spring training around the corner – yielded nothing. 

A similar mismatch occurs with StreamGlider’s social media sync. During start-up of both standard and pro versions, the app offers to sync with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube accounts. Though it goes through the process of login/password, it doesn’t automatically pass the content through to a stream. Readers can manually add content from social media accounts, such as activity on Facebook. And while StreamGlider streams updates, it won’t prowl for news and information based on social media preferences or patterns.

Social media streams notwithstanding, users ought to wonder: If StreamGlider limits content to that of featured advertisers, will browsers find the app relevant?

It could be that StreamGlider wants to be a slick, customizable transport vehicle, rather than an aggregator. According to the website, interested parties can distribute private-labeled or co-branded content via StreamGlider to closed audiences. This model could be interesting for companies looking for a sure-fire way to reach customers or prospects who opt in to get tailored relevant content, such as a private-labeled corporate news magazine. But whether the app has real value for both consumers and publishers will depend on how well it’s able to marry the right content with the right audience.

The Overall Verdict

For users: C. The interface is well designed and easy to navigate, but the app’s relevance really depends on whether a user’s interests align with the featured advertisers.

For publishers: C. It’s disappointing that StreamGlider apparently only picks up feeds from advertisers. However, StreamGlider as a private-label distribution mechanism (where independent parties use the StreamGlider front-end to deliver content) resolves the relevance gap for both users and publishers. That’s A-range territory.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 9:36 am

    Hi SimpleFeed –

    Thanks for the in-depth review; definitely one of the most comprehensive we’ve gotten yet. I’ve passed it on to our CEO and Chairman.

    We really appreciate the critical feedback, and aim to address some of the things you’ve pointed out, particularly in relation to feed discovery.

    With respect to feed advertisers, while we do have a few featured feeds, all the rest of the feeds in the directory you browsed were curated by us, and any omissions are purely because we didn’t add everything in there – those feed providers aren’t advertisers (yet!).

    We need to (1) provide a more extensive feed directory and (2) link with a feed search system to allow people to add feeds not in our catalogue, e.g. via the Google Feed API.

    You touched on our Private Labelling option, and I also wanted to mention that we have a separate server interface for each whereby the organization with a private label can manage their feed providers and have a separate set of featured feeds and categories from the vanilla StreamGlider app.

    Regarding not passing content from social media accounts to streams; when you signed up with the Pro version and were asked for your social media accounts, it should have prompted you to ‘auto build’ a stream for each social media account. That didn’t appear in the Free/Lite version but definitely appears in Pro.

    With thanks again,

    John Breslin
    Founder, VP Products and Marketing

  2. March 9, 2012 12:00 am

    John, thanks for the comment and explanations. Please keep in mind we write these reviews more for our corporate marketing audience and less for end-users. Congrats on your progress so far.

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