I always say the reason foursquare was able to beat out so many early competitors in the location-based space (Gowalla, Facebook Places, Whrrl, MyTown) is because it welcomed open source development on its platform. Foursquare’s API is its most valuable asset. And everything from the careful documentation to the hackathons foursquare has hosted screams “We want you to use our technology to make awesome apps!” In today’s development environment, APIs are sort of like the famous line from Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will build with it.
Right now, developers can’t wait to get theirs hands on the yet-to-be-released Pinterest API. Here are some app features I’d like to see developers build.
Pinterest creates amazing opportunities for brands to have fun with their customers, drive
traffic to their website and even gain insight into their customers’ wants and desires. But like most social networks, marketers can’t just “set up a Pinterest and let it do it’s thing.” The newsfeeds are based on recency, so Pinterest requires constant updates and maintenance.
Third-party apps like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and CoTweet have made social marketers’ lives much easier by providing the ability to schedule posts. Pinterest needs the same type of feature.
2. Selective Unfollowing
Every new social network struggles with the “my friends aren’t here” complaint. Pinterest addresses this challenge by having its users automatically follow all of the boards users’ Facebook friends create. That’s great when the Pinterest party is small. But as this network becomes more mainstream, users won’t need as much help finding a critical mass. The result of the auto-follow feature for me has been a newsfeed crowded with wedding dresses and interior design. I’ve spent a lot of time unfollowing those boards (not the users) to get the newsfeed I wanted. The automatic following is leading to manual unfollowing, and that’s a problem.
A third-party app could automate this. I would log in and indicated that I want to follow my Facebook friends on Pinterest, but I only want to follow their boards about comedy, infographics, photography, latte art, Star Wars, and dancing gorillas. An app could take that input and, based on the tags and descriptions of my friends’ boards and pins, ensure that my newsfeed only gave me content I wanted to see.
3. Recommendation Engines
The search function on Pinterest is really weak. It appears to sort only by recency, not by popularity. That’s great if I’m looking for the latest pins, but not if I’m looking for great boards to follow. There are a lot of recommendation engines out there for other social networks; Pinterest needs one too.
4. Data Visualization
My favorite third-party app for Instagram is Statigr.am. It’s a site that visualizes your activity on Instagram in ways a basic visual feed style doesn’t. Statigr.am lets you see your most used filters, what days of the week you typically post, your biggest fans, most popular photos and more in an infographic-esque style.
I’d really like to see a Pinterest data visualization tool. It would be great for helping brands optimize their content on Pinterest, and it’s a lot of fun for consumers to look at too.
There’s some speculation about when Pinterest will release its API, but when it does, I expect there to be an onslaught of third-party apps taking Pinterest to the next level.