Instapaper Premium, the commercial version of the read-it-later service, is now available for free for all existing and new users.
The company announced today that it has enabled features formerly reserved to premium customers for all Instapaper user accounts.
Existing Instapaper Premium users will get prorated refunds for their subscription, and Instapaper guarantees that accounts won't be billed anymore.
The features that all users gain access to as a consequence are the following ones:
- A website that is completely advertisement free.
- Unlimited notes.
- Full-text search for all articles.
- Unlimited speed reading.
- Text-to-speech playlists.
- "send to Kindle" functionality.
- Kindle digest of up to 50 articles.
Instapaper works similar to the popular Pocket read-it-later service. The service maintains browser extensions and bookmarklets that users of it can use to save articles to their Instapaper account. There is also an option to improve the readability of an article using directly in the browser.
All its take then is to push a button or two to add the article to the Instapaper account. The Instapaper website displays articles in an optimized form that puts the focus on text and images of the article.
You get various controls at the top of the page. These include options to change the font, enable speed reading functionality, and the usual sharing and liking options.
Notes work a little bit different. You may highlight any part of an article. This adds it as a note automatically to Instapaper.
Free Instapaper users benefit from all premium features as of today.
Motivation behind the change
You are probably wondering why Instapaper made the decision to enable premium features for all users and discontinue its paid service.
This has likely something to do with the company's acquisition by Pinterest, the popular discovery service.
There are two possible explanations for that: Pinterest may either be only interested in certain technologies of Instapaper to add to the core experience of its users. If that is the case, it would probably mean that Instapaper won't be a priority anymore from that point forward.
The second explanation is that Pinterest wants Instapaper to grow. Competition is fierce, and one option to better compete with Pocket and other read-it-later services is to make premium features free.
Now You: Do you use a read-it-later service?