Pinterest is a popular site for sharing everything from home design ideas to workout plans. It's a tremendously versatile tool for people looking to share ideas, bookmark favorite posts, and organize boards of content. Pinterest switched its website over to a PWA last year, but it's now available directly through the Microsoft Store.
Because Pinterest has been available to Windows 10 users for a long time as a PWA, the bigger questions are how does this compare to just using the Pinterest PWA in a browser, and how does this affect the trend of PWAs on Windows?
Pinterest is a free site to use, and as such, the app is free as well.
Filling up the board
Pinterest's PWA in the Microsoft Store delivers the full Pinterest experience. You can pin items to boards, browse categories, search content, message people, and do everything else you can do on Pinterest's platform. Before Pinterest switched to a PWA, the site would scale poorly and cut content off. Now, it scales well and fills your screen attractively regardless of your device's screen size. In my testing, everything felt as smooth as silk. Content loaded quickly, liking, pinning, and other core features worked well, and the entire experience was great. It's great to see a first-party app that runs so well on Windows 10 from such a big company.
Pinterest also supports web notifications so you can stay up to date easily. Overall, Pinterest has dramatically improved compared to its old web version, and that translates to its presence in the Microsoft Store. Medium did an extensive breakdown of Pinterest's conversion to a PWA. In it, they point out that the size of Pinterest's app on iOS was 56MB and on Android, it was 9.6 MB. In contrast, the PWA is a mere 150KB. That's just one of many improvements that helped the web experience for Pinterest, and those all come through here as well.
Better than a browser?
The main question to me, and I imagine many users, about using Pinterest through the Microsoft Store is if it's any better than using Pinterest in a browser. After all, the point of a PWA is to be platform agnostic and to scale well regardless of your device. If you can open Pinterest through the web or "install" it as an app through your browser, what's the point of downloading it through the Microsoft Store? That's a fair question for any PWA to some extent but is especially valid in the case of Pinterest.
Microsoft wants developers to put PWAs in the Microsoft Store for a few reasons. First, Microsoft wants developers to make app experiences that work on Windows 10 instead of leaving Windows behind like most developers have done with native applications. Second, they want popular services and apps to be easily discoverable and installable through the Microsoft Store. This makes it easy for users to go to one place to get all of their apps, whether they be native UWP or PWA and gets users accustomed to using the Microsoft Store. Finally, Microsoft wants developers to take PWAs and expand them on Windows 10 by integrating with Windows 10 features such as Live Tiles and notifications.
Pinterest does well on two out of these three metrics. The Pinterest PWA is very similar to the Pinterest experience on other platforms. Boards scale well on different screen sizes, the core features are all there, and you can do everything you want to on Pinterest through the PWA. This is better than the previous version of Pinterest's website that would chop boards in half and scale poorly. But again, these improvements exist whether you use Pinterest through the Microsoft Store or your browser.
When it comes to discoverability and ease of installation, I see some benefits, but they're pretty small. I don't think it's much harder to click install through a web browser than the Microsoft Store. In fact, I clicked a link to Pinterest in the leaked version of Edge that's powered by Chromium, and it installed the PWA automatically. Its arrival on the Microsoft Store does help the catalog there look a lot better. Microsoft can claim another popular service in its store, and the app isn't going to be abandoned because it will be updated as the PWA improves on all platforms.
The area that Pinterest doesn't do well is integrating the PWA with Windows 10-specific features. As far as I can tell, Pinterest hasn't done much in this regard. The Start Menu tile looks a bit better than when pinning the browser version of Pinterest to Start, but it doesn't appear to be a Live Tile. Notifications don't seem to be different when Pinterest is installed through the Microsoft Store either. If you put the browser version and the Microsoft Store version of Pinterest on anyone's PC I doubt they'd be able to tell the difference between the two. That's the point of PWAs in a way, but it's still disappointing that Pinterest hasn't embraced integrating their PWA with Windows the way Twitter has. That being said, Pinterest is a newcomer to the Microsoft Store and features could be added in the future.
An impressive addition to the Microsoft Store
It's great for Windows 10 users and users on other platforms that Pinterest converted their website to a PWA. It provides a better Pinterest experience on a variety of devices, including Windows 10 machines. It's also good that Pinterest brought the PWA to the Microsoft Store because it gives users another way to install the application and helps close the app gap. That being said, Pinterest through the Microsoft Store is virtually identical to installing the PWA through a browser. Ideally, Pinterest would integrate Windows 10 specific features into their app.
The bottom line is that this is an excellent Pinterest experience. While you could get the same experience through your browser, it's always good to have more options. I hope to see more companies cough Google cough jump on the PWA bandwagon like Pinterest has.
- Easy to install
- Scales well on different screen sizes
- Provides a full Pinterest experience on Windows 10
- Start Menu tile isn't a Live Tile
- Doesn't integrate with Windows 10 when compared to the competition
- Essentially identical to installing through a browser
Cheap PC accessories we love
Take a gander at these awesome PC accessories, all of which will enhance your Windows experience.
Anker 4 port USB 3.0 hub ($10 at Amazon)
Whether on a desktop or laptop PC, you always need more ports to connect things to. This hub gives you an additional four USB 3.0 Type A ports.
Ikea Fixa Cable Management System ($11 at Amazon)
This IKEA cable management kit is your ticket to a clean setup. It's simple and functional.
NZXT Puck ($20 at Amazon)
This clever little accessory has powerful magnets on the rear to make it stick to any of the metal panels on your PC case or anything else. It's great for hanging accessories like headsets.
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