Instapaper has been acquired by Pinterest

Casey Newton, The Verge:

As a visual search engine, Pinterest isn’t often thought of as a place to bookmark written content. But in 2013 the company introduced article pins, a format that creates rich bookmarks complete with a photo and a preview of the text. The acquisition of Instapaper suggests the company believes there is more to be done there — although it’s not certain how valuable that will be for Pinterest. Instapaper can be used for free or in a $30-a-year premium version; the company has never said how many subscribers it has.

It’s an open question how big a business can be built on time-shifting articles and videos. Pocket, a competitor to Instapaper that is larger by an order of magnitude, is experimenting with promoted recommendations along with a subscription service. Given its size, Instapaper was probably destined to land at a company with more money to support side projects.

Is Pinterest a “visual search engine,” as Newton says? It’s not a service I follow, but I think of it as a social network for sharing style images, generally of products the user wants to buy — clothes, furniture, accessories, etc.

I’ve never found a satisfactory read-it-later service. I rotate at intervals through Instapaper, the Safari reading list, Pinboard, and Pocket. They all have problems.

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