Saved-Apps-SideBar

With so much great content being posted online on a daily basis and so little precious time to spare (talk about information overload), we as a technological society have grown dependent on various apps to scrap news articles and store them in pure text form for later reading. And boy are these services plentiful!

Not only do you get clutter-free content, but also can pull your saved articles from the cloud whenever and wherever a few minutes need killing – all in one app and without having to manage and bookmark the URLs.

I used to be a big believer in Marco Arment’s Instapaper read-later app for the iPhone and iPad ($3.99 on the App Store). However, Marco’s lack of vision, slow pace of development and just his general attitude on Twitter prompted me to make a switch to Pocket (formerly Read It Later) months ago.

Honestly, I never looked back since. Pocket comes free and provides tons of capabilities packaged into such a clean and elegant reading experience that’s consistent and available across my iPhones, iPads and and Macs.

These services also cut down on time-sucks that are social networks because people spend less time actually reading news articles on Facebook and increasingly save the stories to Instapapers and Pockets of this world. Zuck & Co. have taken notice of the trend and have been testing a read-later Facebook feature for months, a new rumor has it…

Mike Isaac shared the top-right screenshot in his AllThingsD post, writing that the social networking giant is testing a feature that would allow users to save links shared inside Facebook to a list for later reading.

“The functionality is quite similar to the popular apps Pocket and Instapaper,” Isaac’s post notes.

The feature, which was pointed out to AllThingsD by the technology blog MyTechSkool, comes in the form of a small iBook-like bookmark button attached to stories shared in the News Feed. Click the button, and the link will be set aside in a “saved” menu inside a user’s Facebook apps menu.

A Facebook spokesperson refused to comment on the story, issuing its standard boilerplate saying “We’re constantly testing new features, but we have nothing further to share at this time”.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch has more on the implementation:

When you see a link shared by your network in your newsfeed, you can click a small bookmark icon on the right side to save it to a list of saved links available from your apps menu. The feature is currently visible only to a small selection of Facebook users, as is common when the company rolls out new features.

Whether or not it gains wider release is up in the air, and while some features Facebook tests in this way do make it to the general population, many others do not.

The feature lacks offline access at the moment, Darrell noted.

Facebook has been making strides in this direction for some time now.

In March, Facebook unveiled a redesigned News Feed focused on photos. The move represented an effort to boost engagement and surface more of relevant content that Facebook’s users might have otherwise missed.

“We want to give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said introducing the new News Feed.

Likening the revamped News Feed to a personalized newspaper drew ridicule from some pundits, but Zuck could easily have the last laugh – according to a June report by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s been working on its own newsreader-like feature, internally called Reader, in a bid to become a destination for both media content and discovery.

new facebook news feed

Isaac claims the internal screenie he shared represents the second iteration of a Reader feature, “though earlier efforts were less visible and not as easy to understand and use”.

I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of consuming news entirely on Facebook.

I mean, folks typically click on news article links shared on Twitter and Facebook, which opens the story in a new browser tab. I know some big media newspapers and tech sites now have their Facebook Timeline apps, but I just don’t see any benefit in “social reading”.

If I’m interested in a story, I’ll click your link and read the article in its original form and eventually comment on it. I just don’t see myself using Facebook Reader instead of Pocket or Instapaper.

You?

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  • So seriously. Has anyone yet to see the ‘new News Feed’ on the desktop? Is this even happening?

    • On my mother’s account it is already available, on mine not yet 🙂

      • Jonathan Talbot

        Change your lamguage in Facebook to English (US)… It will work instantly

      • No. It doesn’t work. I mean the latest version of Facebook like this one!

      • Jonathan Talbot

        Well I had it to work the way I said above. 😉

      • Tien Nguyen

        Just tried and it didn’t work (and I’ve been using English (US) since the beginning): I changed my language to English (UK) and the whole thing returned to 2008; when I switched back to English (US) it’s semi-latest again (with the top bar being that graph search thing).

    • ConduciveMammal

      I’ve got it. Had it for the past few months

      • That is weird.

      • Aaron de Silva

        I’m pretty sure it’s coz your phone doesn’t support the full feature ok desktop mode. Even the graph search is not support ok mobile devices.

      • Falk M.

        Probably cookie-based, that’s how Youtube does it.

    • Quang

      I signed up for the waiting list, but never get it.
      My friends didn’t sign up, but they got it already 😐

      • Jonathan Talbot

        Change your language in Facebook to English (US)… It will work instantly

      • Quang

        Lol what language do you think I am using?
        I have used English (US) since I opened Fb account.

      • Jonathan Talbot

        Well I was on English (UK) and then once I changed to English (US) the change appeared immediately! 😉

      • Jared

        I’ve tried that. I’ve been using English (US) i changed it to English (UK) then refreshed the page then back to US and refreshed again. I’m still on the old layout. So your “tip” does NOT work. Does anyone know why FB is even taking their slow time rolling this out anyway?

    • Aaron de Silva

      If you have a Windows 8 or 8.1 device, you can get the new design by using the new Windows 8/8.1 application. It can be downloaded from the store. Just search Facebook I’m the store.

  • I want to know how to get that new feed that is shown in the screen shots above? I don’t know anyone who has that

    • ConduciveMammal

      Try searching it on Google, I’m pretty sure I had to sign-up to be given it

  • AppleAnalist

    Marco Arment sold Instapaper April 2013.