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Pocket Released (Formerly Read It Later) (getpocket.com)
142 points by simplon on Apr 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 78 comments

I think the name Pocket is absolutely perfect. It lends itself to a really clear and understandable marketing slogan ("Don't have time to read it now? Just put it in your Pocket!") but also leaves room for how the company might grow and expand in the coming years. "What else can you put in your Pocket?" I'm sure they have that written on a whiteboard in their office with 30 bulleted items below it detailing what they can build next.

It can also be used as a verb which always seems apt for a tool. As in, "I pocketed the articles and went to play my xbox!"

It's not a great name for search though. I couldn't find it on Google, and it's nowhere near the top in App Store search.

It's possible it'll get better as the name gains popularity, but telling someone "Search for 'Pocket'" isn't going to work right now.

It will be. Ranking in Google is based on links. In a few weeks tens of thousands of sites will be linking the word "pocket" to that site and they'll be the top result in no time. Surprisingly, there is already a really popular Android App called pocket ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.citc.walle... ), but with the traction of ReadItLater, I imagine they'll beat it out in no time.

It doesn't seem to take long for products-named-after-common-words to rank high on Google (though search in the Play store has always been horrible). Case in point: my Pushover app/service was released about a month ago and is on the first page of Google results for "pushover", despite there being a game and movie of the same name.

I pretty sure that is Search Plus Your World customizing the results for you.

pushover.net is number 10 when I search in an incognito window.

I didn't say it was number 1, I said it was on the first page.

It's number 14 on a search for "Pocket" on the Android market, well off the first page (I see 8 rows on my phone). Not awful (I found what I was looking for, after all), but not great. Note also that they couldn't get pocket.com

I made a similar tool for remembering things. It's also called Pocket. I shared it on HN a year and a half ago. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2112144 glad I chose a good name :)

I wonder why they don't use "...in YOUR Pocket" for the copy.

OK, I think the bookmarklet/text scraper needs a little tweeking. I just tried Pocket's bookmarklet vs. Instapapers's on the "How Microsoft Fought True Open Standards" article that is also on the Hacker News front page. Pocket mis-identified the headline, instead getting the name of the blog. In fact the title of the article/blog post is not anywhere in Pocket's scrape.

Link to the article: http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2012/04/how...

Edit: It also didn't do well with Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram Newsletter at http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-1204.html

In both of these instances the simply needed to get the content of the <title> tag in the HTML. I would think (careful, here be dragons!) more often than not that the <title> tag should be a reliable way of getting the title of the story.

The good thing is that Instapaper's extraction process can be modified by anyone who has an account:

http://www.instapaper.com/bodytext (Login required)

So if something is not working properly you can improve Instapaper on a site by site basis.

I had no idea you could do that! That's cooler than the other side of the pillow!

I just tried adding that Microsoft article via the Pocket Chrome extension (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/niloccemoadcdkdjli...) and had no problems with it identifying the content correctly.

I haven't tried the Chrome(or Firefox) extension(s), just the bookmarklet javascript that Pocket provides here: http://getpocket.com/welcome?b=Bookmarklet

I'll have to give the extensions a try when I get a chance.

Some web devs (like me! :D) are lazy and make the <title> tag always just the website's name.

As someone who writes an html content extractor, you have no idea how much I hate you.

Oh I hate myself too. I can't distinguish the tabs.

The first H1 tag might be better (and would also work in this case).

The first H1 tag in the computerworlduk article says "Blogs", the second has the title.

As a long-time ReadItLater user, I'm not too impressed with the "Pocket" rebranding ("Read It Later" made it obvious what it did) but the new iOS app solves most of the issues I had with it (it auto-resolve bit.ly links, pulls in titles even if the client app didn't add them, etc). And it looks much better.

Readability still has a more readable text-only view but I assume Pocket could just tweak the CSS (slightly larger font, larger line height).

I am worried that everything is free now. I preferred to live under the impression/illusion that my money had gone to fund the infinite existence of the service. Now it's totally at the mercy of investors / potential buyers.

Which is exactly why I use Instapaper.

If you're not the one spending the money, you're the one being sold.

What's stopping Instapaper selling you as well as getting you to pay for it?

Because he has something to lose if he does - customers who pay him money.

But unfortunatly there are no good Instapaper client for android.

I have tried papermill. Its the most unstable app I have ever downloaded for my android phone.

It crashes randomly but most often when syncing or reading a article. I have send bug reports and contacted the author but that hasn't really helped.

Try InstaFetch.. There's a Free and Paid version.. Works quite well for me.. But using RIL or Pocket more..

Ipaper is ok. I just wish it remembered your position within an article.

Do you worry that Google is free? Or Facebook? Or Twitter?

Also, regarding the name, I think it's great. Otherwise we'd be living in a world of searchtheinternet.com or SharePhotosWithFilters for iPhone!

I don't worry about Google (the search engine product) or Gmail because they're core products of profitable company. I don't worry about Facebook because I wish it would die (but it's also making money — enough? Maybe/maybe not). I do worry about Twitter because it's a very useful service to me (making friends and connections) but they've done nothing to ensure their continued existence.

I am an avid RIL user and have the apps on all of my various mobile devices. With the launch/rebranding of pocket though I am most surprised by the layout of the site when logged in. It looks visually like a tablet app, but I couldn't see myself ever using this on a mobile device because the apps are so good and actually save all your articles for offline reading. Designing a site to look this much like a mobile app on a desktop takes a lot of effort, and IMHO feels a bit clunky when using a full mouse & keyboard.

From a usability standpoint I would have expected the redesigned logged-in site to be primarily designed for desktop reading (e.g. smaller buttons, less chrome), and perhaps use responsive design to accomodate more mobile-friendly layouts when using other devices.

Overall I like the rebranding, new aesthetic and am excited to explore the new android app.

Most importantly though I'm SO happy my credentials/history just worked on the new site.

The key part here is that it is tailored for any kind of content as opposed to just text, everything you'd like to "view later".

Spool (http://getspool.com/) did this as well, with the twist that they actually scrape content (videos and all) to save to your devices to view offline. For some reason it doesn't seem like Spool ever took off.

Spool is still here, and still transcoding and caching videos. We got some new stuff coming down the pipe, so stay tuned.

The Pocket homepage suggests the same functionality:

"If it's in Pocket, it's on your phone, tablet or computer. You don't even need an Internet connection."

Interesting, I imagine that would work great on Android devices where it could have a service running in the background to keep your Pocket synced.

I can't remember now why I chose ReadItLaterPro over Instapaper - it was a few years ago, and I think I just preferred the look of RIL, but the name was always less than brilliant, since it was quite generic. Both are supported well by the iPad and iPhone apps I use, although the newcomer that's been getting all the press recently is Readability.

The ReadItLater app has just magically renamed itself and re-iconed itself on my iPad, so well done developers - so far - for making the transfer smooth.

What do you mean by magically? Did you not update the app and the icon changed?

Likely the user updated all apps as people routinely do and the icon changed. The purpose of saying "magically" is that it isn't something the user spent any mental effort on but it just happened.

That sure must happened before to cormullion, many apps tweak their icons during update. Since he said magically I would like to clarify what does it mean (and we may learn something new :) ).

You can set all/certain android apps to update automatically, which I'm guessing GP did for RIL/Pocket

It's an iPad, not android device.

Seems to be an intersting idea. I wish there was a way to achieve the same effect with your own "personal cloud" server, instead of relying on a startup's infrastructure.

It's essentially a bookmark service, right? This concept is extremely well suited for running on a personal server. I'm not sure there'd be widespread interest in such a thing, however.

I am sure there is no widespread commercial interest. The privacy implications of such a service are comparable to these of GReader, and you know what they tell about you not being the customer if you are not the one paying.

Oh I agree absolutely. I just wish more people would see the need for a personal repository.

I always wonder, if Facebook says (as per their SEC filings) mobile is a threat because they haven't figured out how to monetize that platform without destroying the user experience. How will Pocket be able to sustain itself in the future?

Especially when one of the implied objectives of the service is to get rid of ads in the first place. Place a limit on space? Bandwidth? Then Instapaper's one time fee seems cheaper than a recurring cost. Even if it's a pay-only-once for X more articles per time you'll have to buy more when that limit is hit.

This looks great. I just signed up.

However, I immediately noticed it seems anyone can add any content to anyone’s queue if they know or guess their username — since everyone sends mail to the same address (add@getpocket.com), you only have to forge the From: email header (which is, of course, trivially easy).

Just tried it. Criticism #1: authentication management borderline sucks:

I have to create an account name, not just use an email adderess. Why? Does this get displayed to other people? Not that I can see.

Similarly, why no distributed authentication options? I'd have been happy to log in via Facebook or Google for this app. There's no reason they'd be told what I was looking at, just that I was reading stuff on pocket. That's hardly a privacy issue at all.

So I pick my password on the web site (random, of course) and type it in. And then download the app on my phone, and authenticate again. And then install the chrome extension, and authenticate again. This isn't necessarily easy, but you guys have to streamline this, it's a huge barrier to getting started. Email/SMS a "click on this to get started" link to the phone. Have the chrome extension pick up the existing cookie without asking for a password.

But now I'm saving stuff, and it seems pretty clean. Once annoyance is the lack of pinch zoom on the Android app. I have to click on a text settings button and then hit up/down to play with the text size.

Do any reading apps have pinch zooming? I don't see how pinch zooming would work with reflowing text well.

FWIW, Android's browser has pinch-to-zoom & reflows the text when you stop zooming. Works fine.

Exactly, that's my reference. If a reader app doesn't work as well as reading the page in Chrome for Android, I'm not really going to want to use it. This is close, and definitely doesn't suck. But it's not really as clean as I wanted it to be. I honestly think I'd be happier if it just synced the web content and let me read it using the browser.

Hmm, seems like Read It Later is becoming a Flipboard competitor rather than an Instapaper competitor. I'd assume that there's more business sense behind the Flipboard use case (Kindles are terrible ad-serving devices).

Android app design is first rate. Taking advantage of the new ICS widgets/design language. Very good.

FYI: Using your RSS feeds from Readability and/or Instapaper, you can use IFTTT.com to copy these over to your Pocket account. (Note this won’t copy your current queues, just those added in the future. To migrate the current items from Instapaper, see http://getpocket.com/import/instapaper/ — however it does not seem Readability provides an export function, which is pretty weak IMO!)

For textual stuff I use instapaper and let calibre fetch an epub and drop it on my eReader. I may have to sign up for pocket for the non text stuff, especially once I upgrade phones in August.

Edit: Actually I just noticed I can "Pocket" something from feedreader on my current (but aging) WebOS phone.

Edit2: OK so I also see that Calibre can create an ePub from Pocket as well.

I have thousands of RIL bookmarks in my account, but the one thing that kills me is that I can't see when I saved the bookmark. When I go in to look for something and I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for, I really wish I could see when I saved it. My time association is much better than recalling an exact headline or site name.

Yes, that's a feature I am wishing for too. I just hit 12k links. =) Coming in faster than I can clear.

I had bought Read It Later on Android as part of 10cent deals. Might be a good time to try it.

On a completely unrelated note, Nate Weiner forked my code https://github.com/ideashower/Export-Wordpress-posts-to-Tumb...

I use Opera Mobile's site saving a lot. Not sure if it is too similar, but it's all I need.

This is less descriptive to me than read it later, but then again in some respects read it later may be the wrong call to action.

I hope these guys get a better uptake, but I've been with Instapaper Pro for so long I'm entrenched.

Bookmarklets are great and all, but I hope they make a Chrome extension. It took me a moment to remember how to turn the bookmark bar on.

Edit: Especially since the bookmarklet doesn't appear to work in Chrome.

Bookmarklet works fine for me in Chrome.

The bookmarklet works in Chromium on my Ubuntu box, but not on this machine (18.0.1025.162 m, Windows Vista).

The Pocket extension in the Chrome web store works perfectly and looks prettier. I don't know why they didn't just link to it in the first place.

Very cool that you can save videos, and the Android app looks great, too.

If the bookmarklet works as well as the Instapaper one in Google Reader, and if it works well on WebOS, consider myself a convert.

What really made me sick is that the apps were charging (and silly me I paid for it) and now it turns into a completely free product. So, I am no longer a customer.

To me, that is an odd reaction. Were you similarly sick when it was part of the 10 cent apps promotion?

Being Pedantic: Who built this site??? All of overuse of the "<section/>" tags, and the XHTML Transitional doctype. Yeesh!

Nate Weiner? Or his team... Pocket/RIL is not longer a one-man company for some time


Am I missing something? Those both look like the reading view of every mobile app that has any kind of article reading feature.

Not diss'ing your app btw. The screenshot looks nice. I'm just not sure what the comparison is supposed to be showing

Who did they get to do their re-brand? The strategy is sick, video is slick and design language is killin it.

I use instapaper for this; it emails to my kindle and I am extremely satisified.

Wonder if there will be any changes made to the Firefox extension?

thought I had an account, turns out I dont. too many connections when I register. woe :(

same for me when i try to login with my RIL account, then after reloading the url it loads. I tried removing one of my saved pages, after confirmation, the page gave a (trapped) error via javascript alert. It looks like it's a bit overloaded..

It sucks, the old version was much better.

I can only agree. It was one of my most used apps. I added a load of postings, just to quickly filter through them.

now: everytime, i try to save a thing to pocket, using their new bookmarklet (or using the old read it later one), I get a promt, to login. and I am already logged in.

Thanks a lot for breaking one of the things that really added value to my phone.

So I`m on my way, have to go. Have to delete an account and an app.

Goodbye, you won't come to my "pocket"

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