Mark Zuckerberg has described his social network as a “personalized newspaper” — and for seasoned users with a wide-range of like-minded friends, it’s hard not to argue that the articles that pop up in your news feed constitute the most engrossing read in the world, if not exactly the most timely one.
But Zuckerberg also knows you could be reading Facebook more in any given day. What about those times when you’re just skimming the app during a spare minute? What if you don’t have time to read any of those fascinating links?
If you’ve ever gone hunting through your feed for an article you saw earlier, you’ll welcome the news that Facebook appears to be testing a “save for later” feature. This isn’t the first time the company has tested the idea, but it does appear to be more advanced and closer to wide release.
The concept first cropped up on a version of the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad in 2012. In that iteration, you held your finger on a story to save it to a separate list. Now, according to the blog MyTechSkool, which first spotted it, users will see a button with a bookmark icon they can press.
This is what apps such as Instapaper, Pocket and Read It Later have been doing for years, of course. The Apple browser, Safari, added a similar feature called Reading List (available on mobile in iOS6 and on the desktop with Mac OS X Mavericks).
But the Facebook feature differs in significant ways. First of all, you can save more than just articles — in theory, you’ll be able to set aside anything from your cousin’s holiday snaps to a change in your secret crush’s relationship status. Call it a social To Do list.
Secondly, it allows you to do your later reading within Facebook — meaning Zuckerberg gets to monitor and monetize ever more of your reading behavior. What we don’t know yet: whether you’ll be able to read those articles, links and saved social snippets when you’re offline.
We’ve reached out to Facebook to find out when the company intends to roll this out to all users. In the meantime, let us know in the comments below whether you see the Saved feature yet.
Image: Stephen Lam, Getty Images News