Brainstorm Tech 2010

Where the Fortune 500 and the innovators meet to shape the future of business. (July 22-24, 2010)

Flipboard, the first social magazine, makes its debut

July 22, 2010: 8:29 PM ET

How one app aims to change the way we look at the Web (and how the Web looks)

Flipboard table of contents

You know you are on to something when you break the Internet. Okay, so maybe it wasn't the entire Internet, but when Mike McCue launched his latest company the response from people eager to get the free iPad app was so great Flipboard couldn't accommodate everyone immediately.

McCue, most recently the CEO and founder of Tellme --bought by Microsoft (MSFT) -- demonstrated the sought after app for the first time publicly at Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Aspen. He co-founded Flipboard with Evan Doll, former senior iPhone engineer at Apple. "Social media is a trend that I think is going to completely redefine what we think of as the Web, McCue said before firing up the app on his iPad. "What we decide to build is the world's first social magazine."

What the Flipboard app does is pull in content from Facebook and Twitter, stories and photos from around the Web and presents them in a super elegant magazine like manner. Facebook updates and photos render as pages that you can flip through, as do the Tweets and accompanying links that get fed into the app by Twitter.

You can add your own custom sections to your digital magazine based on personal interest, or use sections like tech and photos that Flipboard has already put together. In every case, you can see comments, links, and add your own. "The whole idea about Flipboard is to really read the content and pay attention to what people are sharing across social networks," McCue says. "We go out and pre-fetch and render and represent those things in a magazine like format."

Also like a magazine, McCue plans to make money from the app by selling advertising space for rich, glossy ads. While it is available for the iPad only initially, Flipboard will add other tablets as they become available, and sources for more content as well. "Feel free to download it," McCue told the audience at Brainstorm Tech. "But maybe not all at once."

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About This Author
Michael Copeland
Michael Copeland

Michael V. Copeland joined FORTUNE as a senior writer in September 2007. Copeland has covered everything from electric cars to e-readers. He is a creator of Tech Mate, an irreverent video series in which he debates (and skewers) digital issues of the day. Before joining FORTUNE, Copeland was a senior writer at Business 2.0. Copeland graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

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