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Pocket for iOS, Android v6.0 Adds Recommendations

PKTBlog_Recommended_Header_v1Pocket has just deployed a solution for that  highly improbable situation where you run out of saved articles to read.

Pocket v6.0 for Android and iOS adds a new recommendation tab to the app (it’s also available on the website). In that tab you’ll find a culling of the best stories saved to the service, which Pocket says has been personalized to match each user’s reading habits.

The recommendations show up as a title plus image, and can be saved to your reading list. They’re only available in English at this time, but Pocket plans to expand support to include other languages in the future.

From what I am reading on Twitter, the recommendations are somewhat better than what Instapaper offers through its Browse menu. Given that Instapaper has never suggested terribly interesting articles to me, that would not be difficult.

iTunes, Google Play via Pocket blog

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picky August 26, 2015 um 4:14 pm

Pocket is a fantastic service desperately in search of a monetization model.

I have a lot of great things to say about Pocket. It works, it’s solid, it’s multi-platform yet each platform’s client has received the appropriate amount of polish. Kobo integration makes it ridiculously useful.

That said, they’ve got themselves into a big problem: most people don’t need any more than what the service is offering. Start asking money for the core features (send articles to read later, the reader itself) and people will promptly leave to competitors Instapaper and Readability. Add ads to the reader view and people will leave AND make a big stink about it, because it goes against the whole "minimal layout" model.

Personally, I absolutely would pay a reasonable amount to use Pocket, just like I’m happy to pay a reasonable amount for a good RSS service, and I understand I’m in the minority. Yet even I’M not willing to pay for Pocket Premium simply because it offers me very little. Search? Tagging? C’mon. Worse, the main feature, permanently storing a copy of the article, is useless to me since my entire reading habits center around getting rid of articles that I’ve read or simply don’t care about. For those rare few that I still want to read later, the "favorite" button (or a simple bookmark) work just as well.

So here’s hoping they can monetize this recommendation model. Usually I stay the hell away from any sort of unsolicited attempts of shoving curated content at me, but I’m actually interested to see if it can find me some relevant articles to read.

Nate Hoffelder August 26, 2015 um 4:18 pm

It is odd how they have been around for years and years and have no visible means of support, isn’t it?

I had always assumed that they developed whitelabel apps for other companies, and kept the Pocket app as a testbed and show piece. Unless they found a way to monetize the analytics, that is.

picky August 26, 2015 um 4:34 pm

It’s certainly strange, and they’re even expanding (partnering with Kobo, Firefox etc.)

If it’s data-mining me, then it is the one of the rare few cases where I’m completely fine with it since
a) it’s completely transparent to me
b) it’s trivial to completely disassociate it with my identity, simply by using a fake email and not saving anything personal
c) it didn’t try to "offer" me anything. Now that it sort of does, it’s non-intrusive

really a great example of a user-friendly service

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