Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Airbnb Redesign Turns Site Into Airbnb Magazine

Airbnb today is redesigning its homepage and iPhone app to help people explore its inventory of places to stay.

The site will now feature glossy “wish lists” of properties, some of them picked by its staff, some picked by famous and tasteful users like actor/investor Ashton Kutcher and designer Yves Behar, and others picked by each users’ friends.

The wish list feature takes advantage of the one million professional photos Airbnb has paid to have taken of its users’ rentals. You can think of it sort of like a social magazine of Airbnb properties, with each user seeing a personalized feed of friends’ wish lists, as well as popular and featured wish lists.

The idea is to encourage browsing and serendipitous discovery of interesting properties, said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky yesterday. Chesky, who is a RISD-trained designer himself and prides his company on its design, hosted a mini press conference to introduce the wish lists.

Chesky said the feature is an effort to move beyond Airbnb as a utility for searching by location and price. He deadpanned that while in testing internally, productivity among Airbnb employees declined massively.

I do wonder if featured locations are will be endlessly booked, making this whole discovery process frustrating for users, but Chesky said Airbnb will make an effort to program the wish lists to include an array of available proporties.

For those who still just want to book places to stay without distraction, the search box on the home page as well as the rental pages remain unchanged.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald