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Instapaper is an application we’ve covered before here on MakeUseOf – Abhijeet even featured it as one of “4 Awesome Tools to Save Pages For Reading Later”. Instapaper is a great tool for saving pages and reading them later, but it’s also got the potential to be so much more.
Instapaper has, over the last several months, become my only source of bookmarks – I’ve ditched Diigo, which I loved; I’ve ditched Evernote, which I still use for everything else. Everything I find on the Web that I want for later now goes into Instapaper, which was made possible by some fantastic updates to the site, and more importantly, to the companion iPhone application.
Instapaper is a winner right from the sign-up. It can take all of two seconds to sign up – you don’t need to specify a password, or verify anything. Just pick a username, a password (only if you want one), and you’re set!
Then, drag a bookmarklet called “Read Later” from the Instapaper site to your bookmarks bar in any (did you hear me say any?) Web browser. From then on, any time you click the “Read Later” bookmarklet, the page you’re currently on gets saved by Instapaper. A little window pops up to tell you “Saved!” and then goes away – it’s simple, unobtrusive, and darned fast.
Once you’ve saved a few pages (or a few hundred, like me), go to the Instapaper website. From there, you can launch any of the pages you saved, read them in a text-only version, or send them to the Archive (better than deleting them, because they’re still available if you want them later – and with no storage limit, who cares?).
You can sort your pages into as many folders as you want (another new feature that makes having tons of bookmarks a whole lot easier), and then read through them one by one. For instance, I have three folders: one called “Multimedia,” for things like videos to watch and songs to download, one called “Mobile Reading” for text-only pages I can read anywhere, and “for Computer” for things like apps to try and sites to check out. Your folders can be anything you want, and sorting your pages into them is easy – just click the folder icon next to any given bookmark.
Instapaper allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds of websites, if you want to pull them directly into your reading list – it skips a step for you, if you tend to read everything a particular site has to say. You can also subscribe to the reading list of another Instapaper user, and anything they star (the universal symbol for “I like this,” which pulls it into a new menu within Instapaper) will be automatically synced to your account.
If you’re an iPhone or iPod Touch owner, you can read directly from your iDevice. By downloading the free Instapaper app for iPhone (there’s also a $10 version that does cool things like remember your position in every page, preserve your folders, and let you tilt to scroll), you can sync your pages, and read them either online or off. Pages are downloaded text-only by default, but whole pages can be downloaded and read.
In short, Instapaper makes saving, syncing, and reading your bookmarks easier than any app I’ve ever seen. Having the ability to read on the go is crucial for me, and I couldn’t live without the iPhone app. Even without it, though, Instapaper’s features new and old make it the perfect, low-maintenance, way to make all your bookmarks online.
What do you use for all your bookmarks?