Move Over, Bookmarks, for Lots of 'Read Later' Options
It’s easy to get sidetracked when browsing the Internet. It happens to all of us: You find an interesting page that is not completely related to what you’re doing at the time. Sure, you could bookmark the site, but bookmarks are better used for things you want to visit over and over again, not just once and discard. To fill this need, a number of relatively new tools are available.
Instapaper is perhaps the best-known “simple tool to save Web pages for reading later.” After getting a free account at the Instapaper website, drag a “bookmarklet” from the Web page onto the bookmarks toolbar of your browser. You’ll then have the equivalent of an Instapaper button in your browser toolbar. The next time you are on a Web page that you want to save for later reading, simply click on the “Read Later” bookmarklet.
When you are ready to read the articles you have saved, revisit the Instapaper website to see a list of them.
There are also Instapaper apps for mobile devices, like iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets, that allow you to read the articles on those devices. Click the name of the article and you’re taken to it. You also have options to share the article with others, archive it so you can refer back to it, or delete it from your list. Possibly the most useful option is viewing the article in “text” mode, which shows you the text and pictures in the article while stripping away other parts of the Web page such as navigation, ads, header and footer, etc.
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Readability is similar to Instapaper but puts more emphasis on making the pages more readable by eliminating clutter and makes it easy to access your articles on any device. While Instapaper is free, Readability requires a subscription for anything but the most basic features. Seventy percent of the subscription fee goes to the publishers of the websites that you read, as compensation for not showing the ads they carry (which is how many websites pay their bills).
Read it Later
ReaditLater, which allows you to save pages by installing a free extension in your Web browser, has the extra benefit of saving the pages so you can read them even if you don’t have an Internet connection. It also works on most of the popular mobile devices.
Read it Later organizes your articles automatically into categories, making it easier to sort through a large list. This can be convenient if you want to read a bunch of related articles in one sitting.
Apple Reading List
Seeing the success of Instapaper on the iPhone/iPad, Apple recently announced that its Safari browser will gain a feature called ReadingList in the next upgrade of the Mac OS , called Lion. As Apple puts it: “Tap to save a page to read later. Reading List lets you save interesting articles to peruse later, while iCloud keeps your list updated across all your devices.”
With the increasing popularity of mobile devices and the large market share Apple has with its iOS products, we’re likely to see more people choosing these “read later” services ― and more options becoming available.
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