The publication once known as The Atavist is now “The Atavist Magazine.” Its back-end platform, which allows anyone to create beautiful digital stories, is ditching “Creativist” and taking over the Atavist name.
We recently explored why the company’s platform was important. And, really, the rebranding news is nothing compared to this nugget in Evan Ratliff’s blog post about the all-new version of the company’s story-building platform:
The system remains just as powerful, including the ability to build everything from a single story to an ebook to a full magazine, all the way up to full iOS and Android apps. But we’ve rethought every part of the creation process, from the typography used in our compose window to how to best prime stories to be shared. The result is an interface that we think is intuitive and tactile, and which encourages the creation of stories that are as unique as our users are diverse. (Under the hood, we’re making innovative use of a bleeding-edge technology called “web components,” and a software initiative at Google, Polymer, that makes component-based design possible today.)
The news of the new design is big enough that it also simultaneously came out on Nieman Lab.
The fact that Atavist is moving to a Google-built product is powerful. While it’s still a pretty small company, it is unquestionably a thought leader in this space.
As the company’s about page tells it, Atavist was conceived in a bar in 2009 and born into the world in 2011. While the company distinguished itself early on by making it easier to publish on lots of devices, it was the Apple iPad that really made the Atavist shine. The MIT Technology Review called the app “what Apple’s iBooks Author program should have been.” By selling its stories in the Atavist app, the company did well enough on the iOS that it didn’t go live on Android devices until Spring 2014 (though Android was “coming soon” from the very beginning).
Because it did so well with iOS, its shift to Polymer is significant.
The software is a bold new push from Google, opening up its style and tools in a way that could make the whole web more Googley. It’s a platform meant to challenge Apple in making digital products that are beautiful, interesting and useful.
The company made huge deal out of it at the last Google I/O. Challenging Apple on beauty is no small charge, but the fact that The Atavist is buying in to the new Google approach is a not-insignificant endorsement of Mountain View’s volley at Cupertino.
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