Thursday, September 20, 2012

Example: Instapaper

My voicethread can be found here.

My forum post can be found here.

Instapaper is an application that saves articles from around the web, and presents them in a clean, readable format.

Instapaper helps to solve a very common problem. It exists to store articles that you may come across, but don't have the time to read at the moment. It is effectively a queue for articles from the web. It also incorporates features to allow you to read an article on another platform. This is done either through a native application, for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, or by sending the formatted articles to a Kindle or other eReader device. These solutions on other devices also save the articles for reading online -- which is purpotedly useful on a subway, airplane, or other situation where you find yourself without internet access.

I like Instapaper primarily for the purpose that it was intended, but also for some of the features -- namely, it's ability to strip formatting, navigation, and the like from an article. I regularly encounter articles that I would like to read, but don't want to take the time to read when I encounter it. Instapaper, through a bookmarklet, allows me to save pages to my personal reading list. I can also pull the article up later, through the instapaper parsing engine, and have it return the text from the article, in a customizable, easy to read format.

Instapaper's primary two competitors are Pocket (or as it is still known to some, ReadItLater) and Readability. These three solutions are very similar, and functionally, they are about even in quality. I believe that Instapaper's draw compared to these other solutions is in their ethics as a business. The other two companies generally hide links to their original content, either in their "reading list" queue interface, or in their social network sharing links. Instapaper works to use the original source links, in all situations beyond reading in the Instapaper interface. This is generally very important to the authors of the content that you import into Instapaper, as their primary source of revenue is through ads on the page. Instapaper seeks to preserve links to these pages, so as to keep pageviews coming in for content authors.

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