Useful Utilities is a series where Mr Epidemiology outlines software he finds helpful. Today, he’ll be talking about Pocket, a free app that saves web pages so you can read them later. 

The internet is a great source of information. We’re constantly bombarded with facts, articles and opinions that, while we may find interesting, we might not have time to read. Especially when you’re in academia, and are checking Twitter or Google News right before a class/seminar.

Normally, you could just bookmark the webpage to check it later on. But the problem is that you then need to be on the computer/smart phone later to access it. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just save the link in the cloud and then access it from any computer or device later on?

That’s where Pocket comes in.

Here you can see Pocket's web based interface, and the (magnified) "Pocket" button in the corner.

Pocket is a great little web-based app that saves websites, and has been called the “TiVo of web content.” You can save URLs and webpages and then read them later on whatever device you want. It’s particularly useful for academics as sometimes you read an article that doesn’t sit right, and so you want to go back to it later and read it in more detail. You can also use it to bookmark YouTube videos or anything else you find interesting: lolcats, gifs, funny pictures, you name it!

It also integrates easily into lots of programs. I use Google Chrome as my web browser of choice, and the Pocket extension adds a teeny little button the top right (see above). When I click it, the current page is saved “in my Pocket.” You can tag items in your Pocket as well, which makes it easy to sort through things thematically.

Pocket also integrates directly into many iOS and Android apps; you can save web pages directly from the Twitter, Zite and FlipBoard apps to name a few. This is how I use Pocket – I’ll be browsing Twitter, find a link I like, save it to Pocket, and then read it later on when I have more time and on a bigger screen than my iPhone. For my readers who commute, this is a great way to save web pages to read on the bus/train.

Have you used Pocket? What do you think?

Pocket is free, and is available for iOS, Android, Google Chrome as well as being available online.

Here you can see the myriad of platforms that you can use Pocket on: iOS, Android, Kindle and Web

Disclaimer: I am not being paid by Pocket, and I am not receiving anything from them. However, if they want to send me a t-shirt, that would be cool.