Read-it-later service Pocket is rolling out a fresh new look to users with an emphasis on listening.
The Mozilla-owned service enables users to save articles from across the web to read at their convenience. Or, with this newest update, listen to them.
Listening to articles has been part of Pocket since 2012. That was when the service first introduced its text-to-speech service. However, it didn’t do much with it after. Worse, the voice of Pocket was overly robotic.
For this refresh, Pocket integrated Amazon’s Polly text-to-speech service to deliver a more natural listening experience. While the voice is distinctly computerized, it’s still quite good.
Furthermore, the listen feature resembles a podcast now. Users can adjust the reading speed and tap buttons to quickly skip ahead.
Additionally, your reading list forms the listening queue. Pocket will start reading the next article in your list when it finishes the current story. However, it doesn’t support offline listening yet, but the feature is coming soon.
Amazon’s Polly isn’t the only Pocket integration with the e-commerce giant. Pocket is getting an Alexa skill too. Pocket users can now ask Alexa to get their articles, and Alexa will read them to you.
Along with the new features, the app is getting its first significant redesign since 2012. Both the iOS and Android apps are less dense, with larger labels and more whitespace.
While not all may like the new look, I for one think it looks more modern and fresh.
Overall, its a risky move for a read-it-later platform to put the focus on listening. This is a risky move, but one I think will pay off. People are busy, and having your phone read articles to you could be an effective way of working through a glut of reading.
Source: The Verge