Pearltrees Radically Redesigns Its Online Curation Service

Pearltrees chops down it’s trees in favor of a more Pinterest like look to its collections.

Did users of Pearltrees loose information? yes. (the links between pearls no longer exist, now there is just rectangular pictures rather then round pearls).

Previous users lost links between pearls in the new version of Pearltrees 2.0 (Pearltrees 1.0 used a circle like sub-unit of a pearltree collection that was linked to other pearls that often formed shapes like trees), and that might have been devastating for some that used such links for navigation in their collections.

The old pearltrees model had a partial mind map in the viewer. Some of the items were just pearls, and pearls were very similar to a hyperlink. Others were branches, that formed links to other branches that contained further branches and/or pearls.

You could literally open a partial view of the mind map into a single very large mind map.

Pearltrees has stated that the mind map is essentially very similar to a directory structure. Thus the entire picture above, could be converted into a list like structure. A partial list would be like the view of a part of the mind map.

Pearltrees 2.0 destroyed part of this structure when it upgraded, by making the pearl, leaf, and tree contents all flat. It is this mini-tree in a viewer (the partial view of the whole tree) that made pearltrees so interesting IMO.

However the new “Pinterest” look to the collections has its advantages: as now people with mobile phones can access your collections. The new look is also easier to understand and resembles something you might see on a board, or on the refrigerator.

Not everyone relates to the original Pearltrees 1.0 version that had tree-like objects that stored links, or that such trees might resemble mind maps.

Mobile telephones are allowing populations who don’t have much money to access the internet (sometimes on shared mobile-telephones) and they might also prefer the new Pearltrees 2.0 as it presents a smaller barrier in understanding how Pearltrees 2.0 might be used (for some people: the old Pearltree 1.0 tree based structure was a barrier to people who wanted to create collections, because not all people understand how such a tree-structure might be used).

The previous design (Pearltrees 1.0) was flash based, and that might have been part of the reason for the redesign. The author has noticed that Pearltrees 1.0 and flash based websites crashed in windows–when lots of windows were open. This experience and suspicion is confirmed indirectly by a statement made by apple:

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.” ~ source: accessed 2014

Also Adobe & Apple don’t want to go into all the background data collectors, cookies, and other things (such as how some information about you is stored). Such background activities on your computers might also interfere with how effectively a flash based website work–because such information collectors are also very interested in what stuff you are doing when you visit a flash based website. Such data collectors, cookies, and other things may also use pictures and flash based content as a way to store information in some cases (information about you encoded into a picture that you may, or may not be able to see; this may be one of the mentioned security issues that apple might have in the above mentioned quote/paragraph).

While Flash and Abode might have lots of plugins to solve problems, one has to wonder why a company like Pearltrees would want to move away from it’s flash based software.

Still from the users side, the loss of the trees in the Peartrees (application) might be devastating to some. Many might have found such trees quite useful–after all they seemed to resemble mind maps[1]; and that meant the collections were closer to the way we like to think.

What Was The Advantages Of A Tree Based Collection

Put simply: a tree based method of storing a collection (as seen in Pearltrees 1.0) effectively added extremely useful extra information into a collection. The connection between things is also the way our minds like to work on things. Also such collections can resemble mind maps.

We do collect things on notice boards, file directories, and stick things to refrigerator doors. But is this style of collecting information or stuff the best way? After experiencing Pearltrees 1.0: the author would tend to say “no.”

The author has observed Pinterest for some time (very similar to Pearltrees 2.0). Pinterest is quite popular among women, and the reason for that might be because it is great for collecting wedding photographs and information. This reason alone might be the reason why Pinterest is popular among women and possibly why they remain loyal to that product. There is no doubt that the notice board style of collections have their uses in our world.

Hacking A Mind Map Into WordPress

This is similar to programing a sorting routine using a computer language. You have to be able to see a image of what you want to do, before you can attempt to do it. The following hack of WordPress to resemble a mind map requires you to understand what a mind map is in 2D, and apply that model to a more abstract list representation. This is not necessarily easy to do.

To achieve this we must define a few things

A pearltree is made up of trees, leafs (leaves), and pearls. We say trees, because the viewer only displays part of the pearltree (a tree).

  1. Tree (contains more trees, leaves, or pearls). A tree is not a leaf, or a pearl.
  2. Leaf (contains only pearls)
  3. Pearl (a hyperlink in most cases)

Linkage of trees, leafs & pearls

  1. On the bulleted list: indentation (additional levels) infers contents of tree.
  2. A similar level on a bulleted list can be linked
    1. The levels used here are not used, they just highlight how we would do it if we had additional dimension to use (such as a 2D surface that pearltrees 1.0 had).
    2. Use capitalized letters for first level (A)
      1. Use numerals for the second level (3)
        1. Use letters for the third level (d)
          1. Use roman numerals for the fourth level (iv)
            1. Use points after that–fifth level (A.1)
              1. Use points after that–sixth level (A.3.1)
                1. Use points after that–Seventh level (A.2.1.7)

Example of a list that looks into what is inside the pearltrees at various levels

The relationship or linkage between pearltrees is not examined yet.

This is a historic snap shot of the Gharr 2014 Pearltree, and may not be accurate in the near future.

  • Gharr: Tree 🎄 🎋 🌲 🌳 🌴

Gharr contains a large collection of pearls, leafs (leaves), and trees. While not the true base of Pearltrees 2.0, it is considered the base by the curator of this collection (Gharr).

The levels here only indicate what is inside the pearltrees, not the linking between pearltrees.

Showing the entire tree might be hard, as you can only indent so far, before you get to the edge of a page.

A Partial Pearltree

In sections like Pure Technical and Space, they might get their own sections like the Gharr pearltree above has.

Linked List Format (using lists) or Abstract Mind Maps

This section examines how pearltrees are related to each other on the same level (does not look inside pearltrees to see what is inside them as done above). This method does resemble mind maps in a very abstract way.

Space Pearltree (the below “abstract mind map” shows what is inside the Space pearltree)

The indentation in the list here shows relationships or links between pearltrees. Because these relationships were lost, it had to be made up from scratch here.

For example: “Commercial Use Of Space” might be related to “Living In Space And Space Tourism.”

Only one level could be described unless you used a open symbol to express that a pearltree has been opened and the insides of it are being examined. But that might confuse things too much and create too many levels on the lists. For that reason, this is not attempted here.

In the original (mind-map, pearltrees with actual trees) Pearltrees 1.0 you could only see the links between pearls & pearltrees that were inside one pearltree. So this model below is valid.

This is what this pearltree would look like in two dimensions


The base of the pearltree is: the Space Pearltree. The stuff listed above the Space Pearltree also happens to be the stuff that is collected inside the Space Pearltree.

The next level of the tree are listed above as (A) Commercial Use Of Space, (B) Exploring and Scientific Use Of Space, and (C) UFO’s.


If you use your imagination, then this tree could be a lot more complicated.


Mind Map

◕ This node is currently classed as a Pearl


Last edited in Aug 2018

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