Pocket has made it super simple to save content to read later for the last eight years, but the popular service hasn’t been able to recommend you articles you haven’t read. That changes now. Pocket is opening up a public beta for people who want to try out new features before they’re polished, and first up is a new Recommendations tab.
In Pocket’s beta for iOS, Android, and the web, the new Recommendations tab will sit next to My List, where the articles and videos you save to read/watch later are stored. The app will use the stories you save to determine which articles you might be interested in.
Why this matters: Pocket is catching up to read-it-later rival Instapaper, which already lets you explore recommendations within the app’s Browse tab. Because Pocket’s Recommendations feature is still in beta, the company is looking for feedback to refine and improve it before rolling it out to all of Pocket’s 17 million users. The end result could be, with the help of beta testers, the best content recommendation tool around.
A shift for Pocket
Pocket’s goal: to build a “Save Button for the Internet.” It started that process last month by integrating its save button into Mozilla Firefox’s toolbar by default. With its new public beta channel, Pocket is moving closer to that goal with the help of its long-time users.
“It’s a noisy world out there,” Pocket founder and CEO Nate Weiner wrote in a Thursday blog post. “The channels we use to discover the stories we’re interested in — Twitter, Facebook, and a slew of news readers, etc. — are dictated by page views and favor real-time, meaning great content has a relatively short lifespan. As a result, what’s good is constantly being pushed down by what’s simply new.”
Because Pocket users are already curating the best content by saving the in-depth, long-form stories to read when they have more time, Weiner envisions the app helping people “cut through the noise” and find the most interesting content on the web without having to hunt for it.