Stay on top of the Web with read-later services

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What if I dont have anything to read?

If you could use some help with discovering great stuff to read, Instapaper and are both great options.

Under the Browse section at Instapapers website, you can find friends either by email or with your Twitter account. (On iOS, go to the Friends section and then tap the Friends button to search your contacts, Facebook, and Twitter.) Once you add friends on Instapaper, the websites Browse section and the iOS apps Friends section will be populated by articles that your friends like. You can also scroll down a little farther on the website, or look in the iOS app menu, for The Feature, which is a hand-picked selection of the finest articles and essays saved with Instapaper. To like any article on Instapaper, simply click or tap the red heart. has even stronger friending and discovery components, as the service was built largely around the idea of social reading and discovery. The Discover tab at the top can show you the most popular or recent articles that users are sharing, as well as the typical quote that users share to help highlight why the story is interesting (hence the services name). You can also plug in your Facebook and Twitter accounts to search for friends on the service, or check the hand-picked recommended user list.

Articles are great, but what about videos?

I have good news and bad news here. The bad news is that, to my knowledge, no read-later service can download videos for use offline, probably due to both technical and potentially legal difficulties.

The good news, however, is that read-later services can catalog video links along with the rest of your content. When you have an Internet connection, you can tap through and watch the video.

It is worth noting that, if your read-later needs lean much more toward "watch later," Pocket pulls ahead thanks to its media-friendly interface and a couple of handy features. For example, Pocket automatically creates a sort of media quilt out of all the links you add, so articles with photos and YouTube links can make for a visual treat. You can also filter your Pocket account just for videos, making it a little easier to stay on top of your favorite Web series and all those memes.

Does it play well with others?

Reading is a social experience for many people, so the ability to plug in your social media accounts to share good reads, as well as other tools, is a must. If youre nodding your head right now, check out Instapaper and Pocket, which both feature support for a wide variety of services including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, as well as not-so-typical options such as and Pinboard.

Pocket and Instapaper offer different advantages. Pocket can share to a few more services, like LinkedIn and Reddit. But Instapaper matches Pockets support for working with other apps, including Things and Twitter clients. It also adds a few different apps, such as Delibar, Due, Agile Tortoises Drafts, and iCab, the iOS browser alternative to Safari.

Plus, Instapaper has a neat feature that lets you automatically share to a handful of these services and apps all at once when you like an article. Its great for cataloging your favorite articles on Tumblr or filing them away in Evernote, or for effortlessly powering your companys social feeds with relevant articles.

Is all of this free?

Here's another easy part, at least for now, because all of these services let you start out with a free option. Only twoInstapaper and Evernotehave paid premium plans that unlock additional features.

Instapapers subscription plan charges $1 per month, billed in increments of three months, to enable wholly optional extras such as the ability to search inside every article in your archives and the ability to use third-party Instapaper apps. Evernote Premium, which costs $5 per month or $45 per year, enables a number of features that aren't really related to using it as a read-later service, such as a higher 1GB monthly upload limit, the ability to take entire notebooks offline, priority support, the ability to collaborate on notebooks with other people, and more.

Get started reading later

Ive spent a fair amount of time using every service I selected for this piece, and as in any competitive market, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. No matter which one you choose, though, I can say youll end up with a good TiVo for the Web that will allow you to read more of it on your own terms.

This story, "Stay on top of the Web with read-later services" was originally published by Macworld.

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