Have you ever gone back searching the Internet for something you read and just couldn’t find it? I think we all have – it’s quite frustrating. The problem comes when we don’t take the time to save what we want to go back and look at. Although, that’s not the only problem – it also can be if you just don’t know what to use.
You might think: “I am too lazy to save stuff when I’m just clicking around the Internet“. And to that I say, alright. Just remember that next time you’re trying to find something. Nonetheless, there are some excellent tools that are free as well and work practically flawlessly.
Although there are some viable alternatives, some even mentioned in this article, Evernote has definitely established itself in the tech community (but also in other niches) as a “use it however you want” kind of tool. That’s the great thing about Evernote – it fits into your life no matter how you use it.
One example of this is using it to save classified listings before they expire. In an article by Nancy, Get Creative With Evernote: 10 Unique Uses You Haven’t Thought Of, it’s explained how to do this with the Evernote Web Clipper. This is the key tool for saving stuff you find around the web. It comes in the form of a browser extension and bookmarklet, so the choice is yours.
In addition to web articles, if you open a PDF in your browser, Evernote can also clip that.
- Mobile app: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and WebOS.
- Desktop program: Windows, Windows 8 (Touch) and Mac.
- Browser extension: Safari, Chrome, Firefox and IE.
- Web clipper has four functions: custom select, article select, full page and URL only.
Readability is first a tool to read webpages in a cleaner way and second a tool to save them. Combined, you get an awesome little tool. Readability also has the ability to auto-detect text on a webpage and only send what you want to read to your Kindle. The tool comes in the form of an extension or as three separate bookmarklets.
In addition to being able to read one article, you can also put together what are called Readlists, which are a series of links that you collect from around the web and add them all to one list for easy access. Then you can export that list to various places, including your Kindle, iPhone/iPad, and even download it to your computer as an eBook.
In addition to exporting them for personal use, they can also be shared to Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else with a custom link.
- Mobile app: Android, iPhone/iPad.
- Browser extension [not specified].
- Kindle support.
- Mac support via Reeder.
- Compatible with various services.
- Clean reading interface.
Clipboard was previously known as Clipmarks, which was previously mentioned on MakeUseOf. If I could briefly describe the service, it reminds me a lot of a slimmed down version of Evernote. Upon creating an account, you’re prompted to create “boards” to organize your clips. It provides you some suggestions, but you can also create your own.
After you log in, you see that Clipboard is a very visual-based service, which for some users is a plus and for others is a negative – it just depends on your tastes.
The clipping tool is available in a Firefox or Chrome extension, and a bookmarklet. The clipping tool is actually quite functional. In the image below, the bookmarklet is being used.
Once you’ve clipped the desired content using one of the various forms, a window like the one below is displayed and you can choose what board to add it to, publish it publicly to Clipboard, and share it to Facebook and Twitter, while even adding hashtags and mentions.
- Mobile app: iPhone.
- Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox.
- Quick to set up and simple to use.
- Social integration with Twitter and Facebook.
- Multiple methods to clip content.
- Clipper has several preferences.
Instapaper is a service which we haven’t been shy of at MakeUseOf – it’s certainly had its fair share of coverage. Sure there are alternatives to it, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s simple and practical to use, but full-featured at the same time.
Once you create an account and log in, you’ll need to get the bookmarklet to start using Instapaper. After you’ve added a few articles to Instapaper, check out the Unread page to view all your articles. You’ll notice that in the same row that Unread is in, there’s also a Browse, Liked, and Archive. The Browse tab lets you view popular stories as well as articles from friends that you follow on Instapaper.
The Unread page also has a sidebar that features folders to organize your saved articles, an Archive All option, a Download option to print the page and save as a Kindle or ePub file, and an Export CSV option, which generates a file containing a list of your saved articles.
Instapaper also has quite a few extras, including a previously mentioned bookmarklet. There is a universal app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, which costs $3.99. Instapaper also has an Android app and apps specifically for the Kindle Fire and Nook, all of which cost $2.99 each. Instapaper gives you your own dedicated Instapaper email address to send links and long messages to for reading later.
You can also send items directly from Google reader with the Instapaper bookmarklet, which even works on the mobile Google Reader site.
Related Reading: Make Instapaper Beautiful & Usable With Scripts & Apps
- Mobile apps: Android and iOS.
- Including a Text-only version.
- Works with Kindle’s automatic wireless delivery.
- Send from Google Reader.
- Email into Instapaper.
- Supported by many iOS apps.
Pocket, formerly Read It Later, is, as James refers to it, the ultimate digital bookmarking service. The tool is very simple to use. Once you’ve signed up and installed the extension into your browser (or dragged the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar), just click the button and that page is saved. Whether it’s an article, image, or a video Pocket will save it.
Then you can sort by types content which you’ve saved in the Queue, as well as mark them as a favorite and archive them.
In addition to the browser tools, there are a lot of other applications compatible with Pocket which you can view on the apps page. The Pocket mobile app is available on iOS and Android (including the Kindle Fire) and the mobile bookmark works on other popular mobile platforms such as Blackberry, Windows Phone and WebOS.
Unfortunately, there is no dedicated tool to send content to an eBook reader as of yet. You can connect Pocket to Calibre, though to fill this void. Some users might also want a browser extension with a bit more functionality. If you’re one who does, check out the Pickpocket extension, which is available for Safari and Chrome. It isn’t officially by Pocket, but it does offer many more options.
- Mobile apps: iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.
- Browser Extension: Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.
- Desktop app: Mac.
- Bookmarklet (Mobile version works on virtually every platform).
- Email items into your queue.
Diigo is a service that strives to be the tool you use to collect and organize anything from bookmarks to highlights to notes to pictures and so on. Web articles are obviously included in this and they have a couple specific tools for reading articles later, including the Read Later bookmarklet and the Read Later Fast browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.
If bookmarking is all you want to do, they have a the “Simple Bookmarklet” that does nothing, but bookmark the page. If you want a tool that is a little more robust, look no further than the Web Highlighter for Chrome and the iPad. The bookmarklet version of this is known as the Diigolet and the Internet Explorer and Firefox versions of this is simply the Diigo Toolbar. These can all be found on the Diigo Tools page under Browser Add-ons.
- Support for most mobile platforms (depending on tool).
- Several different tools to fit different kinds of users.
- Bookmarklet and extension versions of many of the tools.
BlinkList is a simple bookmarking tool that allows you to save links in an organize fashion without taking up extra space in your bookmarks bar. You can create lists for various categories that your saved links fit into. BlinkList functions via a simple bookmarklet.
- Ability to organize links into lists.
- Simple and intuitive web interface.
Springpad, if you aren’t very familiar with it, is a visual-based tool for saving content. The content can be anything from movies you want to see to interesting recipes you’d like to try. Think of it like a visual version of Evernote. In fact, Bakari wrote about why visual orientation matters in an online notebook and I encourage you to read it.
The article goes into some great features of Springpad as well, such as Smart Notes and mobile compatibility.
As far as saving tools goes, Springpad has mobile apps along with browser extensions and a bookmarklet.
- Mobile app: Android and iOS.
- Browser Extension: Chrome.
- Visual bookmarking.
Zootool is another visual bookmarking service, with a slightly different vision and direction than Springpad. Zootool, like Springpad, is solely web-based and has quite a few features. We’ve actually written about Zootool before. It is great because it is simple, yet stylish. Content can be organized by type – Images, Videos, Documents and Pages (text).
Zootool can be used in any browser by using the bookmarklets, however Safari, Chrome and Firefox all have dedicated bookmarklets and extensions.
- Mobile app: iOS and Android.
- Browser extensions and bookmarklets.
- Versatile for any browser.
- Easy to learn and fun to use.
- Visual bookmarking.
These are certainly not the only tools to help you save what you want to read for later, but they are some of the best. Of course, the Internet is full of great new innovations so if there’s a service that you use and love, definitely share it in the comments for your fellow readers.
Below is some related reading:
- Hate Open Tabs- Save Webpages For Later With These 3 Lightweight Extensions [Chrome]
- ReadKit Syncs Your Instapaper, Pocket, And Readability Bookmarks [Mac]
- Use “Later” Buttons To Avoid Being Distracted Online & Get More Work Done
Image Credit: Woman lying in a hammock and reading via Shutterstock
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