The Internet Needs a Save Button
Today, we announced that Pocket has partnered with Mozilla to integrate Pocket’s save button into the default Firefox toolbar.
With the exception of search, it’s rare for companies to be integrated this deeply into the browser. Yet this type of platform-level integration has been part of our vision since the beginning. Our mission is:
To enable people to save the most interesting and important content flowing through their day so they can view it anytime, anywhere.
As one of the pioneers of the modern web browser, Firefox recognized an opportunity to bring its users save functionality that supports how they actually engage with online content today.
Until now however, only Firefox, our investors, and our partners have had the inside story of how we view the world this way and why it matters. Today, we want to share that story with everyone.
Content and Devices Have Changed. Why Haven’t Our Tools?
Two significant developments occurred in the last few years that drastically changed the way people engage with content: the introduction of a number of new screens and devices that are now part of our daily lives and the rapid growth of social media.
Today, we no longer just discover content on our computers, we have it blasted to us on our phones, tablets, TVs — and now — even on our wrists.
And on each of these screens, we’ve seen an explosion of apps, social networks, and a new wave of publishers and platforms each broadcasting an ever increasing array of content. More high-quality content is published each day than ever before, and yet it’s become increasingly harder to actually consume any of it.
The problem is that without a way to actually capture content as it goes by, we’re forced to make the choice to view now or never. The content we’re exposed to just blows right by us — it lives on Twitter for just a few minutes or on a publisher’s homepage for a few hours at most. And if you didn’t catch it? Poof. It’s gone.
The core tools we use today for managing content on the Internet — Browse, Search, and Share — cannot solve this problem.
To actually be able to consume the most interesting and important content we come across in a given day, we need a tool to capture it — regardless of whether it’s found while in the middle of something at work or scrolling through Twitter on the subway —and trust that we can come back to it in a single place. A place where everything you’ve saved can be perused at your leisure, whenever and wherever you’d like.
We believe that tool is Save.
Save is a Platform, Not a Feature
This growing problem has been recognized, which is why we’ve seen an increase over the last few years of features in browsers, operating systems and publisher’s websites offering reading lists and site-specific save buttons. However, when done right, Save is not just a feature. It’s a platform.
Siloed solutions do not fit into the way people find and view content today. For example, Safari’s Reading List is a feature that only works within Safari and iOS. Yet, we see that the overwhelming majority (70%) of Pocket users who save from iOS also use non-Apple devices (Android, Kindle, Windows) and browsers other than Safari to save and view content. This same ratio holds true for Google and Android devices as well.
The same principle applies to apps and sites with their own bookmarking tools. A single publisher, for instance, only represents a small fraction of a user’s total viewed content. Take a publisher as big as The New York Times. They are one of the Top 5 most saved domains inside Pocket. Yet they represent less than 1% of all saves to Pocket. Even for readers who read the most NYT content, 90% of the content they read is from other domains.
Building Save as a feature requires a user to keep, maintain and remember to come back to a reading list for every app, OS or site they use. For Save to truly work, it has to match the diversity of content and devices in a person’s life — not just a single device, app or publisher. And that’s what we’ve been building at Pocket: a single place for all the content you find from the different apps, publishers and devices you use everyday.
Quality Content Thrives When You Can Save It
We’ve seen this happen before. Remember TV ten years ago? When you had to tune in at 7pm on a Tuesday to watch your favorite show, or else wait for the re-runs or the boxed set to come out on DVD?
DVR and Netflix came in and changed everything. All of a sudden, people could watch what they wanted when they wanted. And as a result of giving people this kind of control, more complex and deeper story-lines began to thrive. Just try and imagine a world without House of Cards, Mad Men, or Game of Thrones.
We’re seeing a similar trend — the popularity of more complex, deeper stories — playing out online. Being able to save content to one place gives these stories a place to thrive. Even with close to two billion saves to Pocket so far, over 50% of what’s saved to Pocket is opened and viewed.
This is the type of impact we want to make. We want to create a platform that enables people to save and consume the content they care about most. And by doing so, we hope to make it easier to spend time with more high-quality content, no matter how noisy it gets.
Today, we are one step closer to seeing that vision realized. Stay tuned for what’s next.
P.S. If you’d like to join us in making this happen, we’re hiring! Help us shape the ways in which people discover, save and consume the content they care about. Open roles include Android Developer, iOS Developer, Backend Engineer, Communication Designer, Data Scientist, Frontend Developer, and Product Manager. Check out the Pocket Jobs page for more info.