Photo sharing app Trover launched one year ago with the goal of helping people use pictures to find cool stuff nearby. A photo of a burger might lead you to a cool restaurant around the corner, or a pic of a park might give you an idea about where to take the kids in your neighborhood.
But the Seattle startup has noticed another habit emerge among its users over the past year.
“More and more, people are opening the app for entertainment,” said Jason Karas, the Trover CEO, in an interview this week. “They’re not trying to find one piece of content like a restaurant. They’re opening it up to get a taste of the world.”
Following their lead, Trover has adjusted its approach, releasing a series of updates to its iPhone app designed to encourage that type of usage.
The home page of the Trover app is now a curated editorial experience, showing what’s hot and new, plus featured discoveries from the Trover staff. The introduction of Trover Lists earlier this year — letting users compile photos from others under various themes — has resulted in a rise in usage.
A new search function filters the content of the app to help users find relevant lists, places and other items. And a full-screen feed makes it easier to browse from one large photo the next without having to return to an index page.
Trover users are looking at an average of 20 and 30 images whenever they open the Trover app, and page views jumped by 35 percent last month, according to the company.
The features to find photos from nearby aren’t going away, but with the new addition, the company is becoming less of a potential challenger to Yelp and more of an alternative to Instagram or Pinterest. Karas says he believes Trover will still be able to differentiate itself by its focus on things to see and do, along with its geolocation features.
Trover was founded by Karas, Andrew Coldham and Rich Barton, the Expedia and Zillow co-founder. The startup, based above the Salumi restaurant in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, has six employees and 200,000 users. The company also has an Android app and will be focusing more on its web experience in the coming months.