Scribd Float: Social News & Archiver. Interesting. But, Not Quite Right

Scribd is a social publishing site where people can share their documents either freely or for a fee. Their new free iPhone app, however, has a slightly different mission.

Float is a fun and easy social reading app for your iPhone. Explore your favorite web content, including news, magazines, blogs, documents and more — all in one place, while connecting with friends and readers just like you. Discover content by interests or through friend recommendations on Twitter, Facebook and Scribd

Float (iTunes App Store)

In theory this should be a great app because it combines concepts from two winning apps: Pulse News Reader and Instapaper. However, here’s what I saw when I tried it.

1. Float is slow. Very slow. In fact, it is so slow that I thought its Facebook and Twitter feed integration was not working after waiting about five minutes for something to happen. It was only hours later when I took a second look at the app that I noticed the feeds were available. Selecting a feed item to read can result in a variety of load times. Sometimes it is reasonably fast. Other times it seems like waiting for paint to dry. This may be a result of accessing Twitter or Facebook rather than the app itself, however.

2. The text of the selected feed item often has too much white space between lines. This results in a lot of vertical scrolling to read just a little bit of text.

3. Saving a web article Instapaper-style appears to be localized to the iPhone. I could not find the saved items when I logged in to Scribd’s website.

4. The app is optimized for the iPhone. It runs on the iPad but does not scale for the larger display. This kind of app is a natural for a tablet format.

Scribd’s Float is an interesting entry into a crowded social news reader field. But, it did not provide enough value-add for me to keep it installed.

Via Scribd Aims For Niche Between Instapaper And Pulse With Reader App Float