Do you often stumble upon articles that you find fascinating, but don’t have the time to read? You probably should install a “save now, read later apps,” and Pocket is arguably the best of the pack. More than 20 million users have saved over 2 billion articles using Pocket.
What is Pocket
An average user accesses some 100–150 web pages daily, mostly through mobile. You can stumble upon a juicy piece of content when you’re commuting, waiting at the dentist, or sneaking a peek at the web in the middle of a boring board meeting. Pocket makes it a no-brainer to save, sort and re-access content that you’d really like to read or watch later.
Why Use Pocket
Reading an article or watching a video is always more fun when you’re curled up on the couch or snuggled in your bed. With Pocket, you can just save an article with a single tap and read it later at your own leisure. Sounds a bit like bookmarking, except that it’s much more!
Bookmarking creates a kludge of links and makes it painful to find the articles later. Pocket displays the saved links as user-friendly thumbnails so you can spot the article you want in a single glance. It gives you dedicated space for articles, images, and videos and allows you to archive, tag or mark as favourite the items that you’ve saved, so your list stays easy to browse and uncluttered. Pocket also makes the reading experience more enjoyable by removing unnecessary distractions like ads or links and reformatting the text.
You can share the articles via Facebook, Twitter or email, tag the articles, or recommend them to the Pocket community. In fact, Pocket doubles as a powerful bookmarking tool and a knowledge hub, where you can “explore” the Internet’s best content, saved by the Pocket community and arranged into multiple searchable categories.
As you may have guessed, Pocket is a great tool for just about anyone who browses the web, for business or pleasure. You can use the desktop versions to save articles and access them through mobile in your own comfort zone, or vice versa. You can save and tag just about anything, from cat videos to recipes and from valuable articles to news items, and search for a particular tag later on. With Pocket, it is impossible to lose track of anything that you liked while browsing casually, ever.
The app can be particularly effective for work. For instance, I use it for content marketing. Instead of searching every time to curate content for sharing, I keep on saving the interesting articles that I come across on the go and always have a bucketful of relevant blog posts, videos and photos ready to be posted. With Pocket, students, teachers, researchers, professionals, and other knowledge workers can have their knowledge library with them all the time. However, Pocket is a “save now read later” app in the essence, which is to say it is not basically meant to store content for the long term. You do have access to your archived items, but the typical Pocket cycle works like “save, read, archive.”
What We Think It Should Have
With all the great functionality that Pocket offers, there are a few things missing that could have made it even better. For instance, you cannot sort the articles by length, popularity or read progress, things that you can do with Instapaper, a Pocket competitor. We also wish Pocket offered a wider range of social networks, as currently you can only share to Facebook and Twitter. You cannot share your list, collaborate with your colleagues or make items private, things you can do with Pinboard, another competing app.
Some Pocket Alternatives
In addition to Instapaper and Pinboard, there are a plethora of apps that can work as an alternative to Pocket. However, each has its own focus and niche. Instapaper, for instance, is skewed towards reading. Pinboard has archiving in mind. Longform is targeted at journalists. Readability, another app positioned on the reading experience, has lost a lot of ground to Pocket and Instapaper because of its lack of functionality. Evernote is yet another app that you can use for reading content later, but it’s not basically meant for that purpose. So, Pocket is probably best in its class and one of the apps you must have on your mobile.