Archive for the ‘readability’ tag
Making money in the online content business isn’t always easy, especially for publishers and bloggers who don’t have huge audiences. Besides advertising, there aren’t too many options for online publishers and even though it looked like micropayments would offer a solution a few years ago, they never caught on with the public. Today, the white label social networking service Grou.ps is taking a stab at solving this problem. It’s launching a new program called LoveBucks that allows users to buy a monthly subscription (starting at $2.95/month) and then lets them spend this money by clicking on the LoveBucks widgets on sites that sign up for the program.
The company tested this service on Grou.ps for the last month and is launching it out of beta today. The launch partners include SFGate (which should be live very soon) and developer community Sitepoint. The money LoveBucks collects is split three ways: the first 60% got to sites that that have received clicks in a given month, 30% is provided as residual for as long as a publisher is part of the program and 10% goes to LoveBucks itself.
For publishers, Grou.ps says, LoveBucks provides another avenue to establish a revenue stream without sacrificing a lot of real estate on their sites. Instead of just a Facebook ‘like,’ after all, LoveBucks’ users reward publishers with real money.
It’s an interesting concept, though it does sound a bit like the approach read-it-later service Readability took a few months ago. There, too, users could buy a monthly subscription and Readability would then divvy the money up between publishers based on how often users saved their articles on the service. Readability shut this service down earlier this month. While enough readers signed up for the service, it couldn’t find enough publishers to also sign up and almost 90% of the money it collected went unclaimed.
LoveBucks, it seems, is avoiding these issues by automatically sharing all its money with publishers every month, but the success of this program obviously depends on getting enough publishers and users to sign up for it.
Arc90 — the people behind Readability — have launched a new service called Readlists. Users can create a collation of links — of whatever sort — and bundle into an e-book that can be read on a Kindle, iPad, or iPhone.
This is what it looks like on my iPad in iBooks:
The team behind Readability has released Readlists, a new webapp that can easily turn a set of articles into an Ebook and send it directly to Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or over email with just a few simple clicks. More »
I’ve been using Instapaper for a while now, except for one short-lived attempt at trying out the gorgeous Readability app. I’d since then returned to Instapaper whose genius is just being there for you – wherever and however you access the web – making it the easiest way to save news and text content for reading later.
Pocket is to Instapaper what the iPad is to the Kindle. Both of them have their own virtues. Both of them do what they’re good at very well, but unlike the Kindle whose biggest strength in my opinion is the ability to read any book glare-free on a digital surface that’s closest to paper, Instapaper plays in a mostly iPad world.
So, why should Instapaper care about Pocket
- The barrier to switching apps is minimal
As I’d mentioned earlier, this was my 2nd attempt at switching from Instapaper to another site, despite both loving the utility of the product and saving thousands of articles on the app (more on that in just a second).
But, it was trivial for me to pick just the 10 most interesting articles to transfer over to Pocket. For the most part their save-to-read-later actions are similar, Instapaper wins in Safari while Pocket requires you to email the article to save for later. But, I digress… Switching over was not a problem at all and one of the main reasons I didn’t feel the pain of switching was that most of the articles I save for later are ephemeral in nature and don’t matter much anymore. The ones that really mattered were @longreads from various magazine articles that I hadn’t read because there wasn’t an easy way to pick the most interesting ones among hundreds (I save hundreds) on Instapaper.
- Pictures helps you prioritize reading or viewing
Speaking of prioritizing which articles to read; when you’ve saved tons of articles to read later, and believe me you will when you are accustomed to clicking read-later links whenever you stumble upon something, chances are you’ve got so many posts that at times you just give up on reading them.
On using Pocket I realize a great way to pick articles to read is to sift through this content visually, which makes it easier to pick the article du jour that you feel like reading at that moment. Oddly enough I find myself reading more content on Pocket because of this one reason.
Plus, since there’s an easy way to sort through videos Pocket makes it a one-stop shop for most multimedia content as well.
- iOS world of Multimedia
You may think it’s not a big deal right now but in a world that’s increasingly gravitating towards videos consumed through your iPad on your couch at home, Pocket’s filling an important need. The reason this assumed even more significance for me is that I also do have Apple TV and so throwing content I find on my iPad over to the television screen is now such a favorite habit of mine, that I find Pocket’s ability to gather all those interviews I’ve been intending to watch on the web throughout the day truly changes the way you consume content on your Apple TV.
Granted, it’s gonna take a deep-rooted change in people’s habit to start using these read later apps, but I think the impending Apple TV revolution (I’m talking about the real TV Apple’s working on) affords Pocket the chance to really go mainstream while Instapaper will remain the amazing utility that it currently is to readers everywhere.
What problem does Pocket solve?
Pocket’s competitive advantage comes from an increasingly iPad fueled world of multimedia content. While Instapaper essentially became my TiVo of news, Pocket has now become my online TiVo, whether it’s News, online video content whether it’s YouTube or Vimeo or even twitpics for that matter (though I rarely use it to view pics later).
By becoming the one-stop shop for all content, Pocket gives you fewer reasons to try out or stick with Instapaper, as awesome as it is, which is why I think Marco should be concerned right now. Who knows? At some point he may release the “Kindle Fire” version of Instapaper.
Do you use Read Later apps on either your browser or phone? I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on Pocket? Leave a comment or tweet me @mariosundar.
Filed under: Miscellaneous
Android: If your phone has a good camera on it, why would you need a separate app to grab a head-on shot of paper? In the case of Handy Scanner, it straightens and fixes perspectives, enhances readability, makes multi-page documents easy, and pushes PDFs quickly to wherever you’d like. More »
Chances are, you stumble upon a lot of articles during the day that look interesting, but that you don’t have time to read right now. Lots of services have cropped up to solve this problem, and today we’re looking at the most popular three and pitting them against one another: Read It Later, Instapaper, and Readability. Here’s how they stack up. More »
The new Readability iOS app looks beautiful and all, but the big feature I keep waiting for is the ability to highlight things and save them to some sort of archive. I understand it would be a pain-in-the-ass because of the offline mode and all that jazz, but isn’t that the thing you most want to do when you’re reading really interesting stuff (to me, highlights is the real killer feature of the Kindle). Does this exist and I just don’t know about it?
Bookmarking tool Instapaper has a great new update to its “Read Later” bookmarklet. In addition to a redesign for speed improvements and better readability, now it can automatically save every page in multi-page articles. More »
As you probably know, bistable or passive displays like the E-Ink ones in e-readers focus on battery life and readability rather than color and interactivity. The latest devices have been optimized for fast page refreshes and touch operation, but generally you’re still waiting a half a second or so for the screen to flip over to the next page, menu, or what have you.
Bear in mind this is strictly a hack and not a full-on release or commercially developed product. Most people wouldn’t want to use the device in this state: it’s not consistent in how fast it responds, there are graphical glitches, and it probably drains the battery like crazy. But the fact is they’ve got a passive display refreshing ~15-20 times per second and responding to touches instantly like a normal tablet.
The possibilities for this generation of readers are limited: few people are going to install a hack like this, and even if they did, not much content is really designed to be consumed this way. Pages are a natural way to read books, and scrolling constantly is kind of a pain. But it’s amazing to see these displays, usually so slow and static, being used so actively. Here’s hoping the next displays from E-Ink (or Bridgestone, or whoever) are capable of even more. Despite what people might say, the passive display still has a lot of potential to grow and evolve.
[via The Digital Reader]
Amazon used to be able to sell the Kindle based on its readability in sunlight. That’s a fair comparison to make and the old advertising featured little more than people being happy reading. To wit:
But the commercial above takes a different tack. The old “it works in the sun” line is still is still in there, but I assure you that Amazon is most interested in getting the more expensive and potentially more lucrative Kindle Fires out the door. What do they do? They suggest that the kids can hang out in the shade with their Fires while mom schools an old fool and his iPad. And all three of those devices still cost less than an iPad (or similarly outfitted tablet). Sneaky, sneaky, Amazon.
In fairness, two Fires and a standard Kindle are still cheaper than an iPad, but I suspect the kiddos in that Daiquiri-stained sloth tent would still rather watch videos and play games on a more capable device. But this is Amazon’s version of price-conscious Club Med, and who are we to judge?