Reading service Pocket built into Firefox, replacing Reading List feature

firefox pocket
Credit: Blair Hanley Frank

Pocket, a popular “read it later” service, has been integrated directly into Firefox with an update to the browser pushed out on Tuesday.

It’s a fitting progression for Pocket, which began life in 2007 as an extension for Firefox called Read it Later. Since then, the service has added a wide variety of features and expanded to other platforms, but its core functionality has remained the same: users feed it some piece of media from the web that they’d like to save for later, and the service will hold on to it. With the new integration, users can log into Pocket using an existing account they have with the service, or sign in with their Firefox account.

A home-grown Reading List feature for Firefox is still under development, Chad Weiner, Mozilla's director of project management, said in an email. The browser maker chose to directly integrate Pocket so more users could take advantage of it. There's no monetary benefit to Mozilla from the integration: Pocket didn't pay for placement in the browser. That's a big win for Pocket, since the service is likely to get new users thanks to the Firefox integration.

Firefox also gained a new distraction-free Reading View that will show users an article without extraneous elements around it. It’s designed to make reading easier.

Distraction-free reading views aren’t anything new in the browser market, especially as of late. Apple added one to its Safari browser in 2013, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11 also carries the feature. However, the popularity of such features could be a sore spot for advertisers, since display ads are among the webpage elements that often get stripped away.

Mozilla also added screen sharing to Firefox Hello, its WebRTC-based video chat service. The move brings the service closer in line with its competitors in the video chat space like Skype and Google Hangouts.

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