Pioneered by Instapaper, the realm of read-it-later services is now quite robust. Whether you favor the typography-focused Readability, the catch-all Pocket, or the original, afore-mentioned Instapaper, chances are your needs are covered when it comes to saving an article for later offline reading.
But what about video? What happens when you stumble across a video that you simply don't have time to watch? YouTube has its own version, aptly dubbed 'watch later,' but, though it may seem so at times, YouTube is not the only video service in town. Vimeo offers a similar option, but runs into the same problem.
A service called Wacchen used to exist for this purpose, but the site is now down, and it appears that the service is gone for good.
In fact, a plethora of apps have cropped up to satisfy this need- and the vast majority have failed. Video, as far as copyright is concerned, is a much more complicated beast than text. Content owners largely dictate the terms of the services themselves, and they're much more open to parsing articles than they seem to be to parsing video. As a result, the majority of the crop of watch-it-later services that the past few years has seen have shut down altogether or altered their business plan, as one can verify by browsing the links on this Quora page.
Ideally, then, when searching for a watch-later video service, we'd look for one that is in no danger of falling victim to this trend anytime soon.
Pocket fits the bill. Formerly ReadItLater, Pocket recently underwent a transformation, emerging as a true contender against the likes of Instapaper and Readability. It's ubiquitous, in that it has an app for nearly every device, and quite pleasing to the eye. It’s also a relative behemoth in the industry, and so is in no danger of shutting down, or abandoning its vision, anytime soon.
Instapaper and Readability have an advantage, though: they only do articles. Pocket chose a kitchen sink approach, allowing for videos and images in addition to articles. As with any service that attempts to cover too much ground, they end up falling short in most respects.
To elaborate: I prefer Readability for my article-parsing needs because they're more focused on... well, readability. They offer a plethora of typefaces, for example, and reading my Readability queue is much more satisfying than the likes of Pocket.
Readability and Instapaper also offer Kindle options, allowing you to send a digest of your articles directly to your Kindle, which, few can argue, provides a better reading experience than your phone.
They also offer an option to browse the most-read articles on either service when you run out of reading material.
You get the point. For articles, Readability and Instapaper are superior services.
Neither offer video support, though, and this is where Pocket excels. Not only does it parse nearly any video you come across on the web, it does so beautifully, and leaves the context intact. Initially, I saw this as a drawback. The 'amateur' view-it-later services provided their own fullscreen viewing experience, while Pocket captures the entire article that the original video was embedded in. The problem with that is the lack, mostly, of the ability to view fullscreen videos on your device when viewed via Pocket, but the ability to see the context- the original article- is, I've come to learn, more valuable than the fullscreen experience. (That’s debatable, of course- you’ll just have to try it for yourself.)
Then, there are the advantages of keeping your articles and videos separate. If you’re looking for an article you read a few months ago, you know it’s in Readabilty (or Instapaper). If you’re looking for video, you know it’s in your Pocket. There’s an immersive aspect to sitting down to read, and only read when you open your read-it-later app. Similarly, Pocket gives the same impression when you use it strictly as a video service.
Of course, no personal archiving setup would be complete without ubiquitous search. I’ve shown you before how to use Evernote as a personal, catch-all archival mechanism, and to revolutionize the way you search. By utilizing that approach, you can search your previously-read articles when you search Google, and the same can be done with your videos if you use Pocket. Just head over to IFTTT and create a recipe to send all of your Pocket items to Evernote. Since we’re only using Pocket for video, you can even add an IFTTT parameter to automatically tag every Pocket item with #video for easier sorting and searching.
This, of course, is not the only approach, but I’ve yet to find a more elegant solution to the problem at hand. This works, and it works well.
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