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Pocket built a save button for the internet — what's next?

Pocket built a save button for the internet — what's next?

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The web has a few simple commands, found so often that they become second nature. There are address bars, back buttons, links, windows… and if you're a Pocket user, there's a save button.

For eight years, the company has been building one of the best "save for later" services on the web, one that's now attracted 17 million registered users and more than a billion saved stories. In June, the company partnered with Firefox for a built-in dashboard button, giving it the biggest audience yet. But it's still unclear how Pocket will turn their popular product into a money-making business. We went inside Pocket headquarters to talk to founder Nate Weiner about how he plans to scale the business. Interestingly, he said it may have more to do with recommendations than bookmarks.

Will scrappy-and-focused trump big-and-expensive?

The good news is, Pocket will have plenty of time to figure it out. The company raised $7 million in funding earlier this year, and it's been channeling that money into a host of new products, the first of which are just now seeing the light of day. A recommended stories feature came out of beta just last month, channeling users' bookmarks into a running feed of the most Pocket-worthy stories. If the company handles that data right, it could end up with a unique view of the best content on the web.

At the same time, the company's early success has given rise to a host of well-funded competitors. Rivals like Instapaper have vied with Pocket for years, and Facebook's "save for later" feature stands as a particular threat, armed with more engineering muscle and a far broader scale than Pocket can muster.

But while bookmarking is a side project for Facebook, it's the whole purpose of Pocket, which is wagering that scrappy-and-focused can still trump big-and-expensive.