Now it's sold to Pinterest, one of the two sites I don't bother with links to—because I know Pinterest and Quora will require me to sign in rather than show me what they showed a search engine.
What else operates in this space? Pocket, I remember. ReadItLater used to exist, maybe still? Does Pinboard do this somehow, maybe with an RSS reader? Or do I have to pay for Paperback?
Pinboard (https://pinboard.in) offers archiving for (I believe) $25 a year.
Or Pocket (https://getpocket.com/) which used to be Read-It-Later.
I use Pinboard, and pay for the archiving option. I even periodically request a tarball of the archive for my own backup. Pinboard archives the entire page, not just a readable version of the content. For archival and reference purposes, I like this. It would be nice if Pinboard also provided a readable option. In fact, a number of the apps that work with Pinboard add support for readable versions.
I will look into adding Wallabag into my workflow.
Some interesting reading is Christian Kohlschütter's thesis on this problem, which is framed in academia as "how do we assemble good text corpuses from webpages for data analysis, which means removing junk (boilerplate) from our HTML crawls" (https://code.google.com/archive/p/boilerpipe/wikis/WSDM2010P...). Boilerpipe would probably be the right way to go, but if you're not using Java it could be harder to integrate.
Which is a nice API for extracting metadata from a web page, although I understand it might not be worth the cost.
I don't know what is the state of the art for a general content extractor. (I have done a fair amount of one off web scrapers, for data collection, but nothing this generic)
The demo seems to be broken for me.
>Pocket, I remember. ReadItLater used to exist, maybe still?
there was an obvious reason to name Pocket as "formerly Read It Later"
It does require iCloud but nothing beyond that.
The fact that there's no way to get anything to actively sync between Chrome and iCloud is maddening. Why has nobody reverse-engineered the iCloud API and made a Chrome extension to talk to it?
I still launch Chrome and FF regularly for development, but my tab-hell lives in Safari now.
I find Safari often becomes unusable with 30–50 tabs.
Here's the code, which I have tied to "stc " (send to Chrome). [Ha! In typing the snippet shortcut, of course, I sent this very page to Chrome. :-)]
property theURL : ""
tell application "Safari"
set theURL to URL of current tab of window 1
if appIsRunning("Google Chrome") then
tell application "Google Chrome"
make new window
set URL of active tab of window 0 to theURL
tell application "Google Chrome"
do shell script "open -a \"Google Chrome\""
set URL of active tab of window 0 to theURL
tell application "System Events" to (name of processes) contains appName
I also wrote a short AppleScript called Tab Transporter to move tabs between browsers. It's configured to go from Safari to Chrome but you could reverse that easily. I activate it via Alfred.
If you can reverse engineer iCloud and bypass its security there are a lot more lucrative pursuits than making a Chrome extension for your reading list.
This is typically a good thing because syncing is hard enough when you control both ends, having arbitrary programs messing with your data is a recipe for disaster.
Still, even with the way iCloud works, you don't need to directly prod the data. If you want to manipulate Safari's container, you can prod Safari itself into doing so. OSA is no COM, but it works just fine for this sort of thing. (And if you can't manage to make it do so, you can write a Safari plug-in presenting a locally-bound HTTP API that the Chrome extension can talk to.)
Now, the real challenge would be doing this syncing as part of some "syncing service" running on a cloud VM somewhere, that doesn't actually want to run thousands of headless copies of Safari. That's what I really want: the ability to sync Chrome with iCloud even if I currently have no active iCloud-attached devices. Probably the simplest way to do this is to write your own Ubiquity+CoreData client libraries and present yourself as another device that wants to sync against the iCloud account. It'd be up to you from there to safely munge the CoreData object hierarchy in a way resembling the official clients, but at least you'd be able to linearize those updates against iCloud messages.
I also tend to stuff my Instapaper full of hundreds of links which it handles no problem, but Reading List really crumbles adding a bunch at once when it tries to download everything.
"It works, it's nice and fast, and will continue to work the same way for the foreseeable future" is pretty much the highest praise I can give a service like this, and Pinboard nails that aspect.
It might be helpful for you to have a look through there and see if any of them have a stand out 'read it later' experience.
Except a new third party (Pinterest) will sooner or later have access to my Instapaper data. I trusted Instapaper because they had a sustainable business model not based around ads. I do not trust Pinterest because their business model is based around selling my personal information and activity to advertisers.
Basically it's time to stop using Instapaper :(
Anyway, I'm probably going to replace my Instapaper with a self-hosted alternative instead of hoping yet another company stays in business long enough.
I have been using it for three months now, and it works flawlessly. I was using Pocket, but sometimes after I would save links with their iPhone app, I would go into their web interface to view them at a later time, and those links would be gone.
But I have not had one single link disappear from raindrop.io since I have been using it.
The pricing page is blank for me.
Unfortunately the "read at altitude" is a paid feature, at least for tablets and phones (maybe windows/mac too, I don't know). So that might make it not work for you.
It's been puzzling me for a while though: doesn't Google punish the behaviour you mention?
> For you, the Instapaper end user and customer, nothing changes. The Instapaper team will be moving from betaworks in New York City to Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco, and we’ll continue to make Instapaper a great place to save and read articles.
Brian from Instapaper here. There seem to be a number of comments expressing concerns about the acquisition, and I wanted to just jump in and offer to answer any questions you have about the acquisition.
Based on the comments I've read below the main concerns seem to be that Instapaper will either be shutdown or materially changed in a way that effects the end-user experience. I can tell you that neither of those are the plan for the short-term or long-term of the product, and I am personally looking forward to providing you with the same great service under a new owner.
As a person who has been part of a small company / start-up acquisition 2 times now this is literally the line every single CEO says when they're bought. Now I'm not saying you're lying but plans change and except for very, very few exceptions this is always wrong.
Congratulations either way and I wish you luck!
(I was part of one of these acquisitions and thankfully our founder made no such promises, and instead told us "nothing is going to change right now, but I can't tell you what the future holds for us")
It's like man, you're VP of the Instapaper division now. And you're going to keep your head above the water a lot better if you know it, compared to imagining you're someone you are not.
One of the most dangerous things about acquisitions is losing the "magic touch" that the original team had... requiring a cross-country move is not the best way to retain your talent.
2/3 of the staff members are moving to San Francisco. We all agreed to it before making the decision, no hands were forced.
Also, big fan of your writing. Want to grab a coffee or beer now that I'm in SF?
- Has there been any consulting with Marco about this acquisition? It being his brainchild.
- The blog post mentions some concrete ways on how your Instapaper mad skills can/will be used to make Pinterest more useful. In what concrete ways will Instapaper be made more useful and/or stable because of Pinterest?
Myself, I'm concerned. I've found Pinterest to be user-hostile in a way that seems opposite to the Instapaper philosophy: it's naggy (notification-wise for starters) and aimed at hooking me into their ecosystem. It's in-your-face instead of hands-off.
Edit: added a question, and also I'd be remiss not to use this opportunity to thank you for the great service! It's the only 'bookmarking' service I use, after many years of trying many sorts.
However, I do not care for Pinterest at all. I have created and later deleted several accounts just to give it a fair shake, but it doesn't hold a candle to Tumblr. Also the forced sign up is user antagonistic, and the source of much enmity from people who I've heard speak about it. So fine, clearly me and people like me are not the intended audience, but what does this mean for Instapaper?
I have a hard time seeing how these two services are in any way related; not by content, audience, business model, or features. I do not see the missing part of one in the other. I see two communities that appear to a casual observer to be oil and water, and I am concerned that Instapaper will move towards it's opposite.
Can you speak to these concerns, or suggest some ideas on how Pinterest might improve Instapaper for users?
I'll reiterate here that Instapaper will remain as a separate app, with separate functionality, and a focus on the reader. There are no short-term or long-term plans to modify the user experience of Instapaper.
In the blog post we detail that "Instapaper provides a compelling source for news-based content" for Pinterest, and that portions of the parser technology will be used throughout Pinterest.
For Instapaper, it means leveraging the technical expertise, support, and resources at Pinterest.
For what it's worth, Pocket also has text-to-speech article reading.
First off congratulations on making a huge business decision like this - I'm sure it's not easy. And secondly thank you for putting yourself out here like this for us to talk to.
I rely on Instapaper every day to keep track of the reading that fuels my writing. I love that it's an awesome reading experience, that it syncs so well between devices, that it's keeping an archive of what I've read, and that it's so easy to share out to other apps and services.
I suppose I'm most worried that the experience that I - and many other users - have come to know and love will change, even in small ways. I'm imagining a reading UI with a little "save to pinterest" logo at the top and shuddering. Or some frankensteins' monster of a pinterest-board for my reading queue. Or being unable to share links or quotes to apps other than Pinterest.
I know you've said the team has no plans to make those sorts of changes to the product and user-experience, but how do you as a team know that you'll have that choice under the new ownership?
Either way, I'll be sticking around as a premium user for as long as I can. The app has brought me a lot of joy over the years, and I'm not feeling eager at the thought of potentially leaving it.
The product, engineering, and design folks at Pinterest are very smart and I think we all know that forcing integrations into Pinterest like the ones you're describing would really damage the user experience for end-users.
I've already built Pinterest integration for Instapaper, which you can link like other social accounts at http://instapaper.com/user. You can see how this integration looks on my Pinterest account: https://www.pinterest.com/bthdonohue/instapaper/
I will be a strong advocate against integrations that I would perceive to damage the user experience for Instapaper.
Lastly, thanks for your support over the years. I'm looking forward to continue bringing you the same great service at Pinterest.
Congratulations on the acquisition, and I wish you the best going forward.
 - https://medium.com/@pdavison/math-camp-is-joining-pinterest-...
David was pretty open in the post you linked to: "Though the team will live on, we’ll be focused on building within the core Pinterest product."
It's not without precedent for an established platform with an active user base, either. Facebook was smart enough to keep Instagram and Whatsapp separate, so I'm hoping that Pinterest is thinking the same.
Not a fan of Pinterest (the company), not one bit.
With that said, thanks for taking the time to respond, and congratulations on the acquisition.
Here's from the blog post:
"Instapaper provides a compelling source for news-based content, and we’re excited to take those learnings to Pinterest’s discovery products. We’ll also be experimenting with using our parsing technology for certain Rich Pin types."
Outside of operating Instapaper normally, those are the things we'll be working on with the Pinterest team.
Is this suggesting the Instapaper API will close or become more restricted as well?
Should Pinterest kill Instapaper would you folks be willing to open source it like FB/Parse?
I am closing my account today. Thanks for the service to date.
"Instapaper needs a new home where it can be staffed and grown, but I didn’t want to give it to a big company that would probably just shut it down in six months."
I wonder how the instapaper team feels about that (and/or how much say they had in it).
LinkedIn now needs a pre-canned "No thanks, I'm not interested in moving to Silicon Valley" response.
Because that would really suck if you're loyal to where you live. Company has a "successful" exit, but you effectively get let go and denied unemployment.
> Pinboard @Pinboard: I love the assumption that a small-scale bookmarking business has to lose money. Maybe don’t employ 32 people in a NYC office?
> Brian Donohue @bthdonohue: @Pinboard there were three of us, Maciej. We weren't losing money.
There were issues with their parser they never fixed, has been consistently slow, articles would often be lost even though they were "saved" according to the apps that used the Instapaper API(or its browser extensions), it would take forever to download content over 3G ( maybe the client was downloading it? ). It just never got better for me.
They did introduce a killer feature(narration) and I switched to Instapaper from Pocket again for that feature alone (2 hours or commute time). Still annoying to use and as soon as Pocket implemented the same feature, I jumped ship again.
Pocket seems to be fast(at downloading content, and the iOS app is very responsive), their parser is improving and it's now by far my most used app on my phone.
I hope they get the resources they need to really improve their service though. They have lots of happy users and that must mean they are still doing something right.
But I'm worried. I find that increasingly my interests do not align with the interests of large companies looking for quick growth and large-scale "monetization". I would like to see more sustainable business models, where the goal isn't mad growth and sale to a larger entity, but long-term steady business.
From a quick web search, it seems to be:
- Parsing a page for main body content, removing cruft, and reflowing it into an aesthetically pleasing layout
- Cloud bookmarking these artifacts
So how does this not run up against anti-scraping TOS provisions? Does money change hands between the publisher and the content-reflower?
Without that it's just another in a long series of fresh buckets to put under the leaky pipe of bookmarks.
Fuck you Pinterest and the wedding planners you rode in on!
I view it as a specialized browser view, although the cloud bookmarking doesn't fit with that. I use Safari's reading view on pages all the time as they're too visually busy for the screen on my iPhone 5.
If you don't want/need open source, but just a sustainable business that is not part of a data-harvesting company, then pinboard.in is probably your best bet.
How are you currently using Readability?
1. Aquihiring may be cheaper then new hires overall, considering externalities.
2. The underlying tech may be useful.
3. The user base may be acquired.
4. the business relationships may be retained if they are beneficial.
5. Potentially less competition in a market.
Pinterest is burning through enormous amounts of VC money.
Betaworks seems to just be selling its Instapaper product, together with the Instapaper team.
Thus I'm guessing Pinterest needed a crew that could do what the Instapaper crew can do, and was willing to pay a lot more for it than it was worth to Betaworks.
I can totally see where that could be worth it to Pinterest. Talent is in short supply. Their revenue per engineer is probably not a good (nor available) metric but I bet their burn rate per engineer matters, and their "VCs are Impressed By That" per engineer is probably a huge deal for them.
Hopefully that crew is getting proper relocation packages.
(Or, of course, I'm totally wrong about everything. I don't actually use Pinterest, because it's too visitor-hostile.)
Oh and too bad about Instaparser, I thought that was the most interesting thing Instapaper had done yet. I'm sure somebody at Pinterest came up with a number for what it would cost to build that internally, and that number was probably close to the purchase price.
It also seems to be used sometimes as a mask for acquihires (but I don't think that applies here).
Support Instapaper's continued operation √
They are shutting down a developer product Instaparser that I don't think had much traction (first I've heard of it actually) and is less than six months old.
> As we focus on the future of the user experience, we’ll be sunsetting our developer product, Instaparser. Starting today, we will cease signups for Instaparser and halt billing for existing customers. In order to ensure a smooth transition for current users, we will keep Instaparser running until November 1, 2016.
[edit: parent added another sentence after my reply]
>> As we focus on the future of the user experience, we’ll be sunsetting our developer product, Instaparser.
This seems to be about Instaparser, not the core product Instapaper?