Words: Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability on Your Mac

It’s easy to get lost among all the new content that we are around everyday. Throughout the day I usually find through many different ways (Twitter, RSS and what not) tons of articles and blog posts that I would like to read, but can’t do so right then and there. That’s why apps like Instapaper, Pocket and Readability exist, so that you can save articles for later without getting them lost in the sea of content out there.

But having an account with each of these services can get pretty confusing, and even if you only use one of them, using it in your browser is not always convenient. Today we’re reviewing Words, an app that can help you access and keep those articles that you bookmark, directly in your Mac. It’s especially interesting now, as it’s the only way to read Instapaper offline on your Mac now that the former Read Later app has been turned into the new Pocket for Mac. And, we’ve got 8 free copies for our readers to try it out, so keep reading!

How It Works

Words App

Words App

Words is $6 app on the App Store that downloads all of the articles that you’ve bookmarked on your favorite read later service. This way, you can easily access them with a clean, distraction-free interface right from the app, even if you’re offline.

Words arranges all the content that it pulls and it makes it easily searchable, by adding related keywords to certain articles so that you can always find a piece even if you don’t remember its complete name or source.

Reading

Reading

Compatibility

Compatibility

Compatibility

Words has the ability to simultaneously work with three popular bookmarking services, from which it will continuously synchronize and pull your new articles from. These are the three services it currently supports:

  • Readability
  • Instapaper (needs a premium account, which is $1 per month)
  • Pocket (formerly known as Read It Later)

If you have more than one of these services active in Words, they will all get treated the same, and articles from them will be pulled into the same stream, arranged by bookmarking date, and without really any distinctions between them.

Indexing

Indexing

Indexing

What makes Words stand out is the fact that it doesn’t only pull content from your bookmarking accounts, but it also saves them so that they are always available in your computer, regardless of whether you are connected to the internet or not.

This plays as both an advantage and a disadvantage. Pulling content, especially the first time you sync the app, takes a lot of time and if you have a lot of pages bookmarked, perhaps also a lot of space. The advantage is quite obvious: if you spend a lot of time in places where you don’t always have internet (like airports), you can use that time to catch up on your reading.

The Bad

Bugs

Everytime I tried to login with Pocket…

The app’s UI feels a bit clunky and unfinished. While it’s not ugly (quite the contrary, actually), there are a few details that make it feel weird, like for example: not being able to resize the window of the app (the original size is too small for my taste), and not being able to interact with articles in any way other than reading them and accessing their original URL. Click on an article to open it in a full window, and that’s all you can do.

Words also doesn’t have any way to keep track of what you’ve read and what content is new. In fact, other than pulling your content, saving it for online use, letting you read it with a clean interface and indexing it by keywords, there’s not much else you can do with the app. This release of Words feels a little bit too simplistic.

And then there’s a few bugs that I noticed with the app. While setting up Readability and Instapaper was easy and fast, I couldn’t get Pocket to work since the app would crash everytime I tried to setup my account. I’ve heard this is not the case with everyone, so it might have just been a problem with my computer.

Competition

Read Later

Read Later, now known as “Pocket For Mac

At $6, Words was hard to justify against free similar alternatives like Read Later. Words has the more simplistic approach of the two, and the automatic tagging feature definitely ups the app’s usefulness massively in comparison to Read Later, as well as its compatibility with an additional service, Readability. But Read Later had a much nicer, 3 column customizable interface that let you tweak fonts and article rendering, use a variety of keyboard shortcuts and sharing services, and more. It would still be the winner of the read later wars.

Unfortunately, Read Later has now been removed from the App Store (and will be receiving no more support or updates) to make way for the official Pocket for Mac client. That makes Words a little more interesting, especially since now it is the only Instapaper client for the Mac.

Conclusion

Words‘ strength definitely comes from its ease of use and its compatibility. It may not have big features like sharing to social networks or tracking of what you’ve read, but these and more are said to be coming in a soon-to-be-released update that will bring a major overhaul to the UI and the inclusion of new features. The upcoming new UI previews look really nice, and we’ll be very excited to try it out as soon as its released.

The next Words app looks pretty awesome (via dribbble)

At the moment, Words might be worth the early investment as an offline “library” for keeping everything that you bookmark readily available in your computer. It might not be cheap, but currently it’s pretty much the only app out there that can sync with all these services.

Get Words App for Free

Our giveaway is now closed, and thanks to everyone who entered!

If you’d love to try out Words App on your Mac, the developer has given us 8 licenses to giveaway to our readers. If you’d love to win a copy of Words App, just click the link below and send out the resulting tweet (or just copy and paste), then leave a comment below with a link to your tweet, and let us know what read it later services you’ll want to use in Words App.

 

We’ll close the giveaway on Wednesday, October 31, so hurry and get your entry in!

Envato staff or people who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.


Summary

Words is a simple, barebones app for reading the content that you've bookmarked on services like Pocket, Instapaper and Readability, whether you are offline or online. The app does not come cheap and it has a few bugs, but a major update is said to be coming with many fixes and new features.

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