For a long time, one of my goals has been to find the perfect offline reading application that I can use to find articles, and queue them up for later reading. For a long time, Instapaper served that purpose, followed soon by Read It Later – now Pocket. I tried Pulse, I tried Currents, but they never quite fit the bill. Pocket has been adequate for some time, and what it does, I feel it does very well. But, it’s not perfect.
It’s not perfect, because the weakness in the chain is me. I have to generally be the monkey in the middle for discovery. I find an article, or see it on G+ or Facebook or Twitter, and I click my ‘read it later‘ button in Chrome. If I don’t pay attention, I get nothing new to read. Maybe the tool I’m looking for exists and I just don’t know about it – I’m talking about something like Digg meets Pocket. Here’s what I’d love to see in a social reading app:
- Allow me to identify people who’s reading habits I generally trust, these might be friends, or they could be just industry leaders
- Allow me to bias certain categories of content up or down (say someone loves technology and health care – I can specify I trust their technology recommendations, but don’t care about health care)
- Create a recommended feed based on a fancy algorithm that accounts for a bunch of cool factors that make sense (who’s sharing, number of times, which categories it covers, have I read stuff at that site before, etc)
- Let me selectively pull this content into my reading queue, or flag certain people to just be whitelisted for inserting articles in my queue (the ones I REALLY trust all the time)
- When I read something, allow me to flag articles specifically for recommending to people that might follow me
- Do everything Pocket already does
Actually, I think Pulse does do most of what’s above, but the UX for it is lousy. Basically I want Pocket, just better.