All posts in “Pocket”

Pocket’s reading app won’t sound so robotic now

Last year, Mozilla made its first acquisition by snatching up Pocket, the Instapaper competitor that helps you save longer articles for later reading. Today, this popular reading app is getting a major update that gives its app a visual makeover, including a new dark mode, and most importantly, a better way to listen to the content you’ve saved.

Pocket had added a text-to-speech feature several years ago, so you could listen to an audio version of your saved articles, instead of reading them. Instapaper today offers a similar option.

But these text-to-speech engines often sound robotic and mangle words, leading to a poor listening experience. They’ll work in a pinch when you really need to catch up with some reading, and can’t sit down to do it. But they’re definitely not ideal.

Today, Pocket is addressing this problem with the launch of a new listening feature that will allow for a more human-sounding voice. On iOS and Android, the listen feature will be powered by Amazon Polly, Mozilla says.

First introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer event in November 2016, Polly uses machine learning technologies to deliver more life-like speech. Polly also understands words in context. For example, it knows that the word “live” would be pronounced differently based on its usage. (E.g. “I live in Seattle” vs. “Live from New York.”) The technology has evolved since to support speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression, among other things.

To take advantage of the updated “Listen” feature, users just tap the new icon in the top-left corner of the Pocket mobile app to start playing their articles. It’s like your own personalized podcast, Mozilla notes.

In addition, the app has been given a redesign that gives it a clean, less cluttered look-and-feel, and introduces a new app-wide dark mode and sephia themes, for those who want a different sort of reading experience.

The redesign includes updated typography and fonts, focused on making long reads more comfortable, as well.

[embedded content]

“At Mozilla, we love the web. Sometimes we want to surf, and the Firefox team has been working on ways to surf like an absolute champ with features like Firefox Advance,” said Mark Mayo, Chief Product Officer at Firefox, in a statement about the launch. “Sometimes, though, we want to settle down and read or listen to a few great pages. That’s where Pocket shines, and the new Pocket makes it even easier to enjoy the best of the web when you’re on the go in your own focused and uncluttered space,” he said.

The updated version of Pocket is live on the web, iOS and Android, as of today.

Beat dead zone boredom with the help of bookmarking service EmailThis

You don't have to live this way.
You don’t have to live this way.

Image: pexels

How often have you gotten stuck in an area with terrible Wi-Fi or a spotty signal and no entertainment options? You resort to using your smartphone, but you can only play Candy Crush so many times. So you just sit there in crippling boredom, literally counting down the minutes until you get out of entertainment purgatory.

So what should you do to save yourself from these kinds of awful situations? Download EmailThis. A lightweight bookmarking program, EmailThis lets you save interesting articles and web pages you come across on any platform or browser and sends them straight to your inbox in PDF, DOCX, PPT, or Excel format for easy reading. The best part? A Premium Subscription only costs $29.99.

EmailThis zaps out all the distractions from each page — ads, sidebars, and all other unnecessary content — leaving you with a nicely formatted email with just the text and images from that article. Since email is inherently part of your mobile device anyway, you won’t have to download additional applications. And yes, it even works offline.

Unlike any other bookmarking tool, you don’t have to worry about backing up your saved articles in the chance that you might lose them. Once EmailThis sends a page to your inbox, it’s kept there forever unless you decide to delete it. And what’s more, even if the site you got the piece from deletes the original, the page still sits unharmed in your inbox. That way, you never have to feel bummed about saving links, only to find out they’re gone when you return to them later on.

An EmailThis Premium Plan typically costs $190.00, but Mashable readers can get it for only $29.99. As a premium user, you can save an unlimited number of bookmarks and access them on any device or browser. You can also receive the PDFs, DOCXs, PPTs, Excel files, and images as email attachments for easy referral.

Pocket’s new iMessage app just made sharing stories via chat a whole lot easier

Pocket, the smart bookmarking and content discovery service that was recently acquired by Mozilla, just launched an iMessage app that will is pretty nifty for those who use both services regularly.

I’ve been pretty frustrated with the lack of genuinely useful iMessage apps since its launch last September, but in Pocket I might have found something of use. The iMessage integration potentially means an end to copy and pasting links into chat windows and/or using Apple’s extensions. Plus, if like me you use Pocket a lot to stash good reads away for a rainy day, a newsletter or other reasons, your sharing of wisdom with others is about to become a whole lot more organized.

The app is easy to set up and use. You’ll want the iOS app on your device first of all. Once that’s in place, the iMessage app is configured by opening an iOS chat, selecting the App Store, then enabling the Pocket service via the ‘Manage’ — that’s the tab with details of iOS apps on your phone that have iMessage app options.

Once you have the iMessage app, you’ll be able to share links you stored in Pocket with friends or groups on iMessage without the need to switch apps and copy/paste URLs. The integration shows your most recent saved links inside Pocket when open, but there’s also the option to search to find specific stories you filed away and you can expand the app if needed. Simple but effective.

Full details of the app are on the Pocket blog.

Love Pocket? Mozilla just bought the app to fix its mobile problem.

Mozilla is trying to get back into mobile. 

The company acquired Read It Later, the developer of bookmarking app Pocket, in what Mozilla called its “first strategic acquisition.” 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but both companies said Pocket would continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser.  

For Mozilla, the acquisition could help give the company something of a fresh start in mobile. Mozilla killed what was left of its Firefox OS earlier this year. Launched in 2013, the ill-fated operating system failed to gain traction despite the release of the company’s budget phones

Though the company still makes mobile versions of its browser for iOS and Android, Pocket will help Mozilla regain mobile users outside of its browser. Pocket, which allows users to save articles to read later, has more than 10 million monthly active users across its platforms, which are monetized via subscriptions and ads. 

Mozilla confirmed as much in a statement posted on its blog Monday. “Pocket contributes to our strategy by growing our mobile presence and providing people everywhere with powerful tools to discover and access high quality web content, on their terms, independent of platform or content silo.” 

The company says it also plans to use Pocket’s technology to bolster its Context Graph Initiative, which aims to provide recommendations based on your browsing history. 

Pocket CEO Nate Weiner, who founded Read It Later in 2007, said in a statement the acquisition would help the company “continue expanding the reach of high-quality content” while “protecting the openness of the web and creating a content platform built around trust and privacy.”

Competing bookmarking service Instapaper was acquired by Pinterest last year.