Mozilla Corporation announced today that it has acquired read-it-later service Pocket. Saving stripped down, ad-free versions of articles from the web for reading later has been around for a long time. Pocket and Instapaper were two of the first and have shared a similar trajectory. Both started out as web services that evolved into apps. Most recently, both have been sold to larger companies.
Instapaper was sold by developer Marco Arment to Betaworks in 2013 and then to Pinterest in 2016. Today, Pocket took a similar path by being acquired by Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser.
Pocket says that it:
will continue on as a wholly-owned, independent subsidiary of Mozilla Corporation. We’ll be staying in our office, and our name will still be on the wall. Our team isn’t changing and our existing roadmap has been reinforced and is clearer than ever. In fact, we have a few major updates up our sleeves that we are really excited to get into your hands in the coming months.
For its part, Mozilla says:
Pocket will join Mozilla’s product portfolio as a new product line alongside the Firefox web browsers with a focus on promoting the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content.
The evolution of read-it-later services is interesting. If the acquisitions of these services by bigger corporations is an indication of anything, it’s that they are features more than standalone products. As Casey Newton of The Verge highlights, Pocket’s recommendation engine is likely what interests Mozilla, which has launched what it dubs its ‘Context Graph’ initiative that uses browser activity to enhance web discovery. What that means for Pocket’s long-term viability as a standalone app and service remains to be seen, but for now, it remains a separate product.
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