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Here’s why I love Pocket, plus why I’m intrigued by its new features

Pocket iconfavicon Pocket is my favorite save-online-stuff-for-later service. I use it all the time, plus I’ve written about it a bit. (One of my claims to fame is that Pocket interviewed me for their blog last year.)

I like Pocket for many reasons. Here are some: (1) It lets me save articles (and other content) to read later, (2) It makes reading beautiful, (3) It works offline, (4) It works across all platforms, (5) The app is simple and beautiful.

Because I’m a big online reader (traditional news sources + Feedly + Facebook + Twitter + friends’ recommendations + Digg + Medium + TinyLetter and Revue newsletters + This. + other sources), there’s just no way I could read everything I want to read and organize everything I’m reading if Pocket weren’t around.

(In fact, it makes me a little crazy when I find out that there are tons of people who still don’t use Pocket. These people tell me one of two things: (1) They read things as they discover them, (2) They keep tabs open. Both options are not ideal!)

Over the past several months, Pocket has worked on several new developments that push the service into new territory. They’re intriguing.

The first development is about discovery. Pocket is promoting a new “recommended” feature, which offers articles that may catch our interest. Here’s what it looks like on the computer:

Pocket Recommendations

The skeptic says, “I already have too much to read on Pocket. Why do I need more?” The answer is that Pocket — at least so far — is doing a good job of recommending excellent articles, and not too many of them. Though I won’t use Pocket as my primary way to discover new articles to read, I am liking what I’m seeing so far.

The second development is about curation. Each Pocket user has a profile (here’s mine), and now you can add your favorite articles to your page. It’s like your personal best-of list. Articles you add stay there unless you delete them. There’s a stickiness. In this way, what Pocket is offering is a sort of opposite to Facebook or Twitter, where what you post is ephemeral. If it’s true that “we are what we read,” then this feature also allows others to learn more about what we care about. (My gut says this curate-yourself trend will get big. Example: This. is similar but takes a different approach.) It’s brilliant.

Pocket Profile Page

The third development is about building a social reading community. If you like, similar to Twitter, you can follow other Pocket users and their public recommendations. I’m a bit more leery about this feature. It sounds great at first — after all, why not know what your friends are reading? Maybe I would like it more if more of my friends used Pocket. My worry is that there’s something personal and private about Pocket. If I want to recommend an article to a friend, I’d like to do so privately — via email, usually — and yes, I know I can still do that. Maybe I’m just worried that Pocket’s primary feature — to be my reading hub, my reading headquarters — will somehow be compromised if it becomes too much of a social network. Like a sort of dilution in a way.

Overall, I’m really happy with where Pocket is going. Online reading services (like Instapaper and Readability and Pocket and Reading List) are all trying to figure out the best overall experience (not too many features, and not too few), and I’m excited to see Pocket’s next steps. favicon



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