There are any number of web services and apps that let you save something online to read later. Several ProfHacker authors use these services. Brian introduced us to the concept with his post back in 2009 on “Asynchronous Reading.” Amy, Natalie, and Jason have mentioned Instapaper; Erin wrote about Zite (a related application); Brian and I have written about Read It Later; and George mentioned Readability.
Read It Later recently rebranded itself as Pocket and released a substantial update. Pocket lets you save items like articles and videos to their web service. You can then read or watch the things you’ve saved on their website, or on apps for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and the Kindle Fire. You can get a fuller overview on Pocket’s website.
The upgrade has brought a few changes for the better. The design is now (in my opinion) much better, which makes it easier to read. The web app and the iPhone app are also both much improved over the older, buggier versions. I find it easier to get to the content I want to read, and to mark it as read. Pocket has also added an extension for Chrome which lets you save items easily from Google Reader. Users will like the new price: free for all features. (As a long-time paying user of Read It Later Pro, I’m a little irritated that an upgrade called Digest, which grouped your articles by topic, has been canceled even for users who paid for it. But to be honest, I hardly used the feature anyway.) Since the upgrade I’ve found myself reading more and better quality articles.*
If you’re already using Instapaper or Readability, there is no reason to switch, since these apps are do pretty much the same thing. But if you’re not using one of those service and want to save articles to read later, you might check out Pocket.
Do you use a service like Pocket, Instapaper, or Readability? What do you use it for?
* Borrowing an idea from the book Thinking: Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Dan Cohen points out that the easier it is to physically read something (i.e., the more legible it is) the more likely the reader is to believe it. Thus, “when a reader chooses to move an article into an app like Instapaper, they are strongly increasing the odds that they will like what they read and agree with it. And since readers often make that relocation at the recommendation of a trusted source, the written work is additionally ‘framed’ as worthy even before the act of reading has begun.” So it’s not much of a surprise that I judge the articles I read in Pocket to be of better quality. By all means read Cohen’s post and Kahneman’s book.