We’ve all done it; found an interesting article or blog post while browsing social media on your phone or computer, saved it to the home screen, fumbled through emailing it to yourself or saved it to your overflowing bookmarks list, only to then forget all about it.
Pocket believe they’ve got the solution!
Pocket (previously known as Read It Later) debuted in 2007 as a Mozilla Firefox browser extension. As its previous name suggests, it’s an app for saving articles to catch up with later. What makes Pocket stand out is its usability and seamless integration with other platforms.
For this edition of Team Organic Tries I go it alone, focusing on what makes Pocket stand out from the rest.
The Mobile App
I’m starting with the mobile app because let’s be honest, that’s where you’re most likely to see those pesky articles you want to read later. The app is free and easily installed on iOS and Android. The process of signing up requires a valid email address. There’s also a dedicated log in option if you have a Google account. Using this function enables you to link the app to the Pocket browser extension in Google Chrome, which I’ll explore later.
With the mobile app installed you now have the ability to save articles to Pocket directly from your phone’s internet browser. To do this go to the share options in the browser and you’ll see a new icon for Pocket. Tap this and your article will be sent to the reading list in the app.
The app itself is clean, organised and responsive. I particularly found it very quick at updating the reading list when saving articles from other platforms. More on that in a moment.
The Browser Extension
This feature is a must if, like me, you browse an awful lot of articles each day either as part of your job or if your computer is your main device when using the internet. I downloaded the extension for Google Chrome, but it is also available on Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
Once installed and logged in, the extension button sits in the top right corner of your browser. So when you come across that ‘must read later’ article, all you need to do is click the button and it’s automatically saved to your Pocket list with little fuss or interruption of your screen. Any article you save using this button will automatically appear in your mobile app too – clever!
The Desktop App
The desktop app for Windows, I found a little hard to get my hands on at first. When you visit their apps list to download it, there only appears to be the option for Mac. Yet when I investigated further (I Googled it) I found a Windows version here within a blog post by Pocket from 2013. At the time of writing this, I was unable to find any other way of downloading the desktop app other than from the link in this article. The Windows app store appears to only offer the browser extension for Microsoft Edge as mentioned above.
If you plan to do most of your ‘Pocketing’ via your computer, I highly recommend getting the desktop app as I find it easier to manage my saved articles this way rather than having another tab open on my browser to see my list. Though it is reassuring to have the browser option if, for example, I was on someone else’s computer for whatever reason and needed access to my Pocket list. All I’d need to do is log in through the Pocket website and my list would be available to me straight away.
As Pocket is an app built around storing content there is, of course, a ‘Recommended’ section. It’s a given they would promote certain content, however, I have to say, content that has been recommended to me has so far been relevant and useful, and compared to ‘sponsored’ content you get from other news sources I’d say this feature is a massive success.
Pocket is free to use, but they do offer a Premium option which includes features like turning your list into a permanent resource. They explain “Premium’s new Permanent Library keeps a personal backup of all the articles and web pages you save, so they’re accessible even if the original page changes online”. Very handy if you use Pocket for research or for journalistic purposes.
Premium also includes advanced options in tagging and organising your content. Personally I’ve managed fine without the added functionality, but as mentioned before, if Pocket was to be used by a researcher or journalist then being able to tag and organise content could be a vital tool.
The beauty of having Pocket logged in on your desktop, mobile app and in your browser is that no matter how you find an article or website you want to keep for later, once saved to Pocket it can be accessed on whichever device you have Pocket installed.
There are alternatives, such as Instapaper or Feedly. Both I find didn’t provide the same intuitive interface or experience as Pocket. Though these apps do benefit from a few free features you’d be expected to pay for in Pocket Premium.
What began for me as an app to store some interesting articles on, I now use all elements of Pocket as part of my job as well as my personal interests. Having the two uses mixed together, right now doesn’t feel over complicated. However, if I did find things getting a little chaotic, the Premium features could easily sort that out.
Do you use Pocket or an alternative? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments.