A couple of years ago, online read-it-later darling Instapaper got sold to Pinterest. Then, in the lousiest possible way, nothing happened. No real updates, tweaks or refinements for Instapaper the service or the app. It was frozen in time! Currently, it's not even possible to use it in Europe as its not in compliance with the new GDPR rules put in place in May. Fortunately, aside from the GDPR thing, everything still runs as smoothly as it did a few years back--users save content cleaved from the internet to read in their browser, on a Kindle or with a tablet or smartphone app, just like they could before the acquisition. But, as Instapaper's chief competitor, Pocket, has continued to add new features, better e-reader support (its app for Kobo E-Ink devices is frigging great,) and slicker mobile apps to its arsenal, it's been hard to stick by Instapaper, which feels stale by. Hopefully, all of that's about to change.
This morning, in a press release, the team that sold Instapaper to Pinterest announced that they have bought the service back:
Today, we’re announcing that Pinterest has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of Instapaper to Instant Paper, Inc., a new company owned and operated by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper since it was sold to betaworks by Marco Arment in 2013. The ownership transfer will occur after a 21 day waiting period designed to give our users fair notice about the change of control with respect to their personal information.
We want to emphasize that not much is changing for the Instapaper product outside the new ownership. The product will continue to be built and maintained by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper for the past five years. We plan to continue offering a robust service that focuses on readers and the reading experience for the foreseeable future.
I'm hoping that the 'not much' mentioned in the press release will include a few much needed tweaks to their mobile app, a facelift and perhaps better document management in the way that the service sends content out to Kindle users and, against all odds, dedicated desktop apps for Windows PC and Mac users. I guess we'll see what we see, but for now, I've got my fingers crossed that this great service, which has been neglected for far too long, will finally get the developer love that it so sorely deserves.
Image via Flickr, courtesy of Johan Larsson