As it faces new competition from startups like Matter and open source alternatives like Omnivore, popular read-it-later app Pocket is releasing two major changes to its mobile reading experience. Key features are being updated today, including the Home tab and the My List tab, which is now called Saves.
Mozilla hopes that these updates will make Pocket a more useful resource for readers by making it a place where users can find new content to read through “high-quality recommendations.”
Pocket is a service that lets you save articles to read them later, typically through a browser add-on that syncs your saved items to Pocket’s web and mobile app, where you can read them or listen to them as audio. You can use this app instead of bookmarking web pages or, more commonly these days, texting stories to yourself to read when you have time. Pocket, on the other hand, stores your bookmarks in its own interface, where you can star bookmarks, highlight passages, and even archive previously read content.
A new Home tab has been added to Pocket as part of the update, providing quick access to recently saved items as well as editorial suggestions. Readers can view their most recently bookmarked item at the top of the screen and access their entire to-read list by clicking the “see all” button. Not only will category-specific recommendations like those for tech, travel, and science be featured on the Home tab, but so will a curated selection of Editor’s Picks.
Matter, a more recent read-it-later app with $7 million in Series A funding, could pose a threat to which this curated reading experience could offer a countermeasure. Matter is a more advanced take on the read-it-later concept, as it allows for newsletters and subscriptions and features a lively reading community where users can discuss and share articles they’ve found interesting. While the new version of Pocket lacks some of the social features of its competitors, it does provide a way for users to discover new content to read within the app, and with the update to the Home tab, these recommendations are now organised more centrally in the main tab, making for simpler three-tab instead of four-tab navigation.
The app has also updated the name of the My List section to the more generic “Saves.” Here, Pocket is revamping its interface in response to user feedback by introducing the ability to sort stories according to tags, favourites, and highlights. A new toggle will allow for mass editing of items or archiving of previously read articles.
Mozilla claims these changes were inspired by feedback it received from users last year about how to enhance the Pocket app, particularly on Android. Consequently, the company is updating the Android app before it updates the iOS app. The updates to the iOS app, along with the new features, are scheduled for release later this year.
Pocket has around 2 million monthly active users and an undisclosed but smaller number of premium subscribers, despite catering to a relatively small subset of the internet population: avid online news readers who need to save longer articles for later reading. For its tablet-optimized features, Google named this app one of its “Best apps of 2022” last year. Its newsletter, Pocket Hits, has 4 million readers. However, since being acquired, Pocket’s reach has skyrocketed; every month, 40 million+ users see Pocket’s 8.8 billion reading recommendations displayed in the Firefox New Tab. Mozilla says the Android update will start rolling out today and the iOS update will arrive later this year.