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Posts tagged with "read it later"

Read It Later Reborn: Pocket Saves Everything “For Later”

In the past five years, reading on the web has fundamentally changed. Read It Later, the first popular service to pioneer a certain kind of “bookmarking” for web articles, is reborn today as Pocket, and it promises to change the way users think of web content to “save for later”. Most importantly, Pocket wants to address what has become the scarcest resource of web citizens: time.

Read Later

People never had time to check out all the cool stuff that happens on the Internet every day. As blogging platforms started taking off in the past decade, sometime during 2006 some people began to realize they didn’t have time to read every article that was posted online. The digital publishing revolution had already happened, but the explosion of blogging was just starting to produce high-quality, journalistic and well-informed pieces that, due to a simple scarcity of time and intuitive tools, people didn’t have time to read in their entirety. Whilst the act of “bookmarking” something on the Internet goes back to several years ago, the more focused, practical act of “saving an article for later” can actually be traced back in the form of popular consumer software to somewhere in between late 2006 and 2007.

Nate Weiner was one of the first developers (and avid web readers) to understand that the bookmarking systems in place at the time (Delicious, magnolia, or simple browser bookmarks) weren’t cutting it, from a technical and psychological perspective, for those users that just wanted to put off an article for later.

The difference between “bookmarking” and “saving for later” is both practical and conceptual: a regular bookmark is usually archived for good, as bookmarking services place great emphasis on letting users store bookmarks – links to webpages – forever in their accounts. There are some exceptions today, but the underlying philosophy has pretty much stayed the same. The action of “saving an article for later”, on the other hand, takes a more pragmatical approach: an article a user wants to read today or tomorrow isn’t necessarily representative of a webpage he wants to store and archive for eternity. The terminology itself – “for later” – indicates that something is going to happen “later”. Once an article is read, most users tend to go on with their lives and forget about it. Like I said, it’s different today, and there are some specific use cases in which someone might want to archive articles – but the original concept lives on. People don’t have time to read every web article ever published.

Back in 2007, Nate Weiner set out to create a simple Firefox extension that would allow him to keep articles he found at work (and wanted to “read later”) in a different place than its browser bookmarks. On August 6, 2007, he launched the aptly-named Read It Later, a Firefox extension that did one thing well: it kept articles in a cozy little extension, saved for later. Users could hit a button to quickly save an article, and they could even save multiple browser tabs at once. As the extension started taking off, Nate began adding more features to Read It Later, such as offline support in December 2007.

Meanwhile, Marco Arment, developer at Tumblr, was facing a similar problem himself in 2007. He was constantly coming across news or blog articles he didn’t have time to read at the moment, and he needed something to read while on the bus or waiting in line. Arment discovered that there was no easy way to save links from a computer and access them later from the iPhone – we’re talking mid-2007 here, when the iPhone was getting in the hands of the first millions of customers, and when there was no SDK for developers to build native apps. So Arment decided, as he would later explain, to build just the service for that: Instapaper, a webpage that collected links saved from a bookmarklet, was launched publicly in January 2008. Like Read It Later, Instapaper solved a twofold issue: it allowed users to quickly save articles, and retrieve them later. Unlike Weiner’s app, though, Instapaper saved links in a webpage that could be easily accessed from the iPhone – mobile reading, in fact, seemed to be one of Instapaper’s primary features from the get-go. As Arment’s service became popular, he also went back to the drawing board – or in his case, programming tools – to implement new functionalities for Instapaper. The service’s hallmark feature, a text mode that strips unnecessary content out of web articles, was released in April 2008.

The rest is history. As Apple kept improving its mobile ecosystem with new devices, OS upgrades, and the App Store, Read It Later and Instapaper evolved, and iteratively became two fantastic services that serve millions of users every month. Over the years, we have followed both Instapaper and Read It Later closely at MacStories. Read more

ReadNow 2.0 Keeps your Instapaper and Read It Later Articles in One Tidy App

If you like to read Instapaper and Read It Later on your desktop through your web browser, why not give the second iteration of ReadNow a try? No longer a menubar application, ReadNow 2.0 was built from the ground up to feel like a native OS X application from the start. Based on traditional RSS apps, ReadNow organizes your Instapaper and Read it Later articles for offline access, optimizing articles for a cleaner reading experience on your Mac. ReadNow features a custom article view that let’s you style the article, change the line height and article width, and customize the font. Archiving and liking articles in the app will push those changes to the respective service in realtime. Unlike your favorite iOS apps, ReadNow lets you drag and drop articles into folders and tags to quickly move them from the reading list. You can currently share articles you find interesting to Twitter, Facebook, Pinboard, Delicious and Evernote from within the app. With support for multitouch gestures, search, and tag and folder management, ReadNow gives you access to Instapaper and Read It Later in one easy-to-use application.

An Instapaper subscription is required to use the service with ReadNow. ReadNow is $3.99 on the Mac App Store. Saves Your Favorite Stories on iPad, iPhone, and Web

RSS users who live inside the Pulse ecosystem are getting a boost this afternoon in collecting articles to read later. Pulse has unveiled, which is a brand new web component that allows you to save a story from Pulse on your iPhone or iPad, then read it later at your office desk or during a coffee break. I love the idea of not extending the read-it-later schema off of Pulse: you simply have to star the article to continue reading it later. integrates with your Pulse account or Facebook login, making sign-up relatively painless. Because stories are saved on the web, you can return to your reading list on your iPhone, your iPad, your Android smartphone or tablet, and even your desktop for a consistent experience. If you choose not to use Pulse, they’ve included Instapaper, Read It Later, Google Reader integration, and Evernote support so stories can be read in multiple places. These services work simultaneously with Pulse, meaning if you star an article for, it will star the article in your Google Reader account as well.

Pulse is a free download from the App Store for the iPhone and the iPad.

Safari “Reading List” Discovered In Lion, Apple Taking On Instapaper and Readability?

A new feature uncovered in OS X Lion by MacRumors reveals that Apple plans to take on “read it later” services such as ReadItLater, Instapaper and Readability. It has implemented a new bookmarking feature in that latest Lion builds of Safari that Apple is calling the “Reading List” and can be used by users to save pages for later reading. Apple describes it feature saying:

Reading List lets you collect webpages and links for you to read later. To add the current page to your Reading List, click Add Page. You can also Shift-click a link to quickly add it to the list. To hide and show Reading List, click the Reading List icon (eyeglasses) in the bookmarks bar.

The feature is currently hidden away in the latest OS X Lion build and no mention of the feature has yet been made by Apple in any of its announcements or documentation of Lion. One question certainly is about how robust the feature will be and whether it will become a service that synchronises the bookmarks across devices, including mobile devices. Marco Arment, the creator and developer of Instapaper, appears not to be to worrying about it so far and believes that “Instapaper would still have a market even if Apple implemented Reading List synced to iOS devices.”

[Via MacRumors]

iPhone and iPad Changing People’s Reading Habits

Read It Later, the Instapaper-esque service for saving articles for later consumption has released some fascinating information on how users of the service, depending on the device used, have very different reading habits.

Posted on their blog they reveal that content is encountered pretty much constantly throughout the day, with only a slight drop after work finishes at around 5PM. As for when articles are read, those who use the computer have two key periods, during work at 8AM – 4PM and during the night at 6PM – 9PM with a slightly higher peak during which articles are read.

Read more

Read It Later Now Goes Beyond Paywalls, Supports Tweet Attribution

Today is a good day for online services aimed at letting users read content from the web. After the big news that Readability is launching a subscription service and it’s teaming up with Instapaper, Read It Later has just announced the release of an updated version of its official iOS app for iPhone and iPad, which reaches version 2.4.

The path towards the much anticipated Read It Later 3.0 starts with the possibility to access websites behind a pay wall. The problem with apps like Instapaper and Read It Later, in fact, is that subscription-based websites like the Wall Street Journal and ESPN Insider don’t support these tools out of the box, nor do they easily accept the fact that an online application is used to access their content in an uncluttered, ad-free layout. So it’s been a problem for developers to find a way to let users keep using their favorite reading tools, whilst keeping the access to the pay wall active. The solution implemented in Read It Later 2.4 is simple and genius: there’s an account manager to create, save and organize all your logins to subscription-based sources. Read more

Well Things Just Got Interesting

Well Things Just Got Interesting

Inspiration and imitation are a natural part of competition, especially in a market as tight as news readers.  But in this case, I personally felt that MobileRSS went too far.  As a solo developer, I rely on app sales to support myself.  A lot of other iOS developers do the same, including Reeder.  We simply don’t do things like this to each other.

As a result, I have decided to disable MobileRSS’s API key for the time being.  This is not an app that I would like ReadItLater to be a part of in its current form.

Nate Weiner of Read It Later condemns MobileRSS because they’ve blatanently ripped off Reeder’s unique user interface, but at the same time offers his apologies to his customers who use MobileRSS as their utility of choice. While he regrets disabling a major function of MobileRSS, Nate honorably offers to offset the cost of this inconvenience if his customers feel their service has been disrupted. It’s a shame that a developer in our own community has had to take such a stance thanks to the actions of another, but good on Read It Later for stepping up and simply saying, “No.”


After speaking with a number of other developers, including Silvio from Reeder, I’ve decided that the best thing to do is re-enable MobileRSS’s API key.  The developers who made MobileRSS have a number of other apps with Read it Later support (on Twitter, iPhone and iPad).  I’ve discovered that all of these apps use the same API key so disabling it unfairly affects an enormous number of innocent Read It Later users using the developer’s other apps.

While the intentions were good morally, business is business. Ultimately I agree that it’s up to the end user to decide whether or not to support an application that has unfairly (and blatantly) copied the user interface of a competitor, though I applaud Read It Later for bringing awareness to the situation. I find it interesting that Silvio Rizzi of Reeder understood the financial implications and felt that such a damaging proposition was unfair. Undoubtedly the developers of MobileRSS have enough to deal with considering this afternoon’s lash out against the company.


Read It Later 2.3: New Article Parser, Better Attribution

Before falling in love with Instapaper, I was a loyal Read It Later user. I used the service for months and couldn’t be happier with it. So what made me switch to Instapaper? The fact that Marco Arment’s software had a better text parser – that little magic that takes content from the cluttered web and presents it in a beautiful, readable and uncluttered fashion.

Read It Later introduced a few minutes ago a new “insane” article parser, which doesn’t stop at text but extends the service’s capabilities to images and embedded videos. Plus, developer Nate Weiner has refined the whole text parsing process to make RIL smarter and faster at fetching articles.

Am I going to ditch Instapaper and jump on the Read It Later bandwagon all over again? No, but I’m going to give this a deep week-long second try. Read more