Android Internet iPhone and iPad

Pocket – The Ultimate Digital Bookmarking Service

James Bruce 02-05-2012

digital bookmarkAs Bakari previously reported, the well loved Read It Later – which enabled users to save articles to read later from a bookmarklet or various apps it was integrated with – was discontinued and replaced with a new, free service called Pocket. Let’s take a closer look at Pocket today and what makes it the ultimate digital bookmarking service.


Integration & Device Neutrality

Saving something to your Pocket account couldn’t be simpler thanks to the bookmarklets, browser extensions, and over 280 apps it’s currently integrated with. If all else fails, simply email a link to from the address you registered with, and it’ll go straight to your account.

Pocket also supports a multitude of devices with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire apps, as well as a web interface for reading your saved items. There’s even unofficial clients for obscure platforms like WebOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry.

digital bookmark

I don’t have an Android to test on, but the iPad app is beautiful, and simple. It’s lacking in any advanced gestures for navigation though, which may be offputting when there are so many apps like Reeder and Alien Blue Reddit client that have made a real effort to use touch gestures.

pocket bookmarks


Beyond Text With Videos & Pictures

Read It Later was focused entirely on the reading experience. Pocket expands this to include root level filters for videos and pictures too. Videos and pictures are automatically recognized from specific sites such as YouTube or Flickr, but unfortunately the browser bookmarklet doesn’t allow you to manually specify if you want just a certain image from any random page to be saved, and will default to saving it as an article.


Tagging is a nice feature but only available in the web app once items have already been saved. I was expecting to be able to tag things as I saved them, but apparently not. Making it a two step process is a chore, and I really hope they fix this in a similar way to how the Pinterest extension works. With the new tagging feature, this app is no longer just a consumption device, but can essentially be used as a bookmarking service similar to Delicious (in fact, you can even import your Delicious bookmarks).

To tag items, first open the web app. Click the tag sidebar icon in the bottom right and select “untagged” to allow you to quickly narrow down items you’ve yet to tag.

pocket bookmarks


Adding individual tags is simple in list mode (make sure you’re not viewing gallery mode). Just hover over the item, and an “Add Tag” label will appear.

pocket bookmarks

To begin tagging a large number of your untagged items, enter bulk edit mode from the button on the far left (an upward arrow, and a fat pencil).

best bookmarking service


From the bulk edit screen, click to highlight saved items, type in your tags, and hit the Save Changes button. The Add Tags ‘button’ is actually just a selection box for the action to perform with the tags you entered. It’s far from intuitive unfortunately, but I’m sure this will change as the service evolves.

digital bookmark

I also had errors in the latest version of Chrome – it wouldn’t save any of the tag changes for me due to Javascript errors. Teething errors, I’m sure.


I rarely used Read it Later before because my RSS reader alone was sufficient for a clean reading experience, but the great thing about the evolved Pocket service is that not only can it act as a clean reading experience, it also expands to cover video and pictures, and adds tagging. It’s become a complete digital scrapbook – a personal and private Pinterest board; a device-independent bookmarking service; a collection of recipes; a queue for YouTube videos you want to watch later; a place to store links to stuff I want to buy. The point is, you can use it as you wish, and it’s precisely this adaptability that I believe will make it everyone’s favourite new app.


The future

Pure speculation perhaps, but I can see definite similarities between this service and Pinterest. Right now Pocket is a private experience, but if social elements were added at some point, and perhaps even the ability to make certain tagged items open to the public? There’s just so much potential here. The question of monetization is important too – I’m sure they’re able to provide metrics to companies and sites on the most saved items by their users; but will we see advertising, or limits placed on the free version along with the launch of a premium service? Who knows.

For now, this is one incredible app. It has combined bookmarking and evolved Read It Later to cover far more than just text. A superb service, device neutral, and completely free. Download now!

Let us know in the comments what you think of it.

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  2. Justin Butlion
    October 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Pocket is a very useful service and does one thing really well. One click "bookmarking". The problem with Pocket is that its just a read later tool with limited categorization, social and collaboration features. Someone who is looking for a serious bookmarking solution will find Pocket lacking.

    I invite everyone to join the invite list of Bmark, a new and user focused bookmarking solution with auto-selection of folders and a great UI. The entire service is wrapped up within a Chrome extension which makes things even easier for users.

    Join the invite list now at [Broken URL Removed]. You are also welcome to contact me directly at

  3. Michael.Freidgeim
    June 10, 2012 at 8:06 am

    The upgrade from Read it Later to Pocket was a terrible experience on my IPad, and even almost two months later they have not restored the functionality, that worked perfectly in RIL Pro. I've posted my problems in

    • Tina
      June 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Michael!

  4. Samsudeen Hussain
    June 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I have been using pocker for two weeks now and i have to say its wonderful. I really like it. I use xmarks for normal bookmarking and use pocket only for select articles.

  5. Luke
    May 3, 2012 at 1:26 am

    There is one slight disadvantage in Pocket which I find, but that may be because of the way I use bookmarks.

    As a result of the fiasco, I have a private install of an online bookmark management system called Scuttle. I have around 16,000 bookmarks stored and categorised therein, covering a wide range of topics and I often refer to these resources (even directing coworkers to the collection) when we are researching projects.

    However, according to Pocket's own Help Section (

    "Please note: Pocket is not a replacement for archival bookmarking. We strongly advise against importing thousands of items here unless you plan to read/view them. For archival bookmarking, we recommend Pinboard, which has integration with Pocket."

    So, in my workflow, I use Pocket as a simple service for me to collect articles which I then read later and, if I feel they are worthwhile, I transfer them to Scuttle. Certainly an improvement in that I can now collect links on my iPhone, from Zite, on my iPad, etc. but the lack of support and encouragement for archiving all my bookmarks in the one site is certainly a turn-off.

    • muotechguy
      May 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

      Good find Luke, thanks for the input. I must admit, I don't have 16,000 bookmarks to try and categorise or import!

    • Micah
      May 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Luke, that help section note is interesting to me because I didn't realize Pocket acknowledged Pinboard in some way—I'm going to try and find out more.

      I wrote a Chrome browser extension that saves in-page links of specific sites to, primarily, Pocket, but can as an option also simultaneously save to (and/or Instapaper).

      I haven't heard of Scuttle, will check that out too. Thanks!

  6. tl
    May 3, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Not sure if it works with IE9. Do some reading and search faq & still unable to determine. Given up!