Review: Pocket lets you shelve items to read and watch when the time is right

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Pocket

    PCWorld Rating

    Pocket is an excellent way to save articles for reading later. Highly recommended.

The Internet is a distracting place. Cat videos, recipes, and interesting blog posts all conspire to steal our focus and distract us from whatever we've set out to do in the first place. One way you can deal with this constant barrage of brain candy by blocking it out with procrastination-curbing applications such as Cold Turkey. Another possible way is to save all those interesting distractions for later, carrying on with your day secure in the knowledge you'll get to them when the time is right. If that sort of distraction management appeals to you, you're going to like free Web-based service Pocket.

Pocket lays out the content you've saved for later in a beautiful, easy-to-navigate grid.

Pocket started out as a service called Read It Later, which specialized in saving articles, and later morphed into a more general-purpose service that can also save videos and anything else. With the change in purpose and design came a change in name, and Pocket was born.

The idea at the core of the service is simple: You have one Pocket account, but numerous applications can plug into it to save content for later. There are browser bookmarklets and extensions, but there are also lots of mobile apps that feature built-in saving to Pocket, with Flipboard and Pulse being notable examples.

When you save a page for later using the Pocket bookmarklet, a simple overlay shows you the page was saved.

Saving an article to read later takes just a moment. Pocket doesn't ask any questions: It just saves the article, and you're done. Later, when you have time, you can access the Pocket Web app or use Pocket's mobile app, and read the articles you've saved at your leisure. Pocket even improves the reading experience by stripping out extraneous formatting and making the article look nicer, much like Readability does.

Using Pocket isn't like bookmarking content to read later: When you create simple browser bookmarks (or save links to a social bookmarking service), they stay there once you're done reading them. This makes for a very cluttered bookmark collection, mixing temporary content you'll visit just once with more permanent bookmarks you'll visit time and again. With Pocket, you get a dedicated space for all of those transient links, keeping them separate from your more permanent bookmarks; and since Pocket lets you easily mark links as read, it's easier to keep it from overflowing with clutter.

Pocket reformats articles to make reading easier and more focused.

Pocket isn't a revolutionary service, and it isn't new. But it's very useful, especially if you find yourself drawn to read articles and watch videos when you're really not supposed to.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can use the latest version of this Web-based software.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pocket is an excellent way to save articles for reading later. Highly recommended.

    Pros

    • Widely supported
    • Free
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • Items can pile up over time
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