Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Pocket on Android

2nd December, 2012

Recently I’ve been using Pocket for Android a bit more. I’ve owned it for a while but it’s only in the past week or so that I’ve really been using it to keep track of articles I want to read. Now, it is pretty much my go-to place for saving content – I will invariably save to Pocket and read there than actually reading on the website.

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By far and away one of the best things about Pocket is its content extraction algorithms. Built on a fancy heuristic which analyses page structure and extracts the primary blocks of content from it, it means you can read articles without ads, distractions and horrible layouts, and focus on the text.

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Additionally, it has quite a nice feature where it brings together multiple pages of the same article into one piece of content. New York Times articles, which I love reading at the weekends, often span 2, 3 or even up to 8 or 9 pages, which makes for great reading but a huge distraction waiting for each of the subsequent pages to load. Instead it is only one page you can scroll or flip pages all the way through.

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The final two cool things about Pocket are that it has a great share mechanic in Android. By using the share functionality built into the OS, you can share stuff from pretty much any app and it will get the content out and save it for you. For example, sharing from Chrome and Google Reader are two of my favourite places to go from. When you share a Reader article, which may be a stub from an RSS feed, it actually goes and gets the whole page content from the URL, which can save some extra clicks too.