Spool Is Instapaper And Read It Later On Steroids
The Internet around us is exploding with new cool and amazing videos and articles every second. As we all are busy, we don’t have so much time to go through all the new links and videos shared in our social channels. Luckily, there are services available like Instapaper and Read It Later to save the links for later viewing. But what about audio and video? How to save them for later?
Seems, Spool is the service we all were waiting for. Spool is an intelligent service that saves pages to your Spool account and synchronizes them across the web and other devices including smartphones (Android, iPhone and iPad). After finding Spool in the Android Market, we started testing it. Below you’ll find our full rundown about the service.
Before, we start it’s important to note that Spool is still in beta and is invite only service at the time of writing. But, we found that we can easily sign-up for the service using the Android app instead of waiting for getting an invite through the web interface. You can also bypass the email sign-up process by using your Facebook account to sign-on.
Even though the service is still in beta phase, Spool is already ahead of the rest. The idea of saving the entire web which includes videos, article text, image galleries, PDFs, and more gives it the much-needed advantage.
Your Spool Dashboard
Which ever page you save for later goes to your Spool account. The web interface is very easy to navigate thanks to the way your saved stuff are visually presented to you. Along with the title, it pulls images from the saved articles and creates a thumbnail of saved videos instead of only offering a list.
By default when you’re logged in, you can view your main Spool page. You can further narrow down your saved items by Unread, Read, Favorite and Archived stuffs.
Just like the competition, Spool provides an optimized view of text and loads images and videos while blocking out all the extra stuff like advertisements. All the videos that you “spool”, are played in a custom player. The custom video player has all basic controls like adjusting the volume, entering full-screen mode and more. These saved pages and related media can also be viewed within the app, and favorite it for easy access or archive it when you’re finished viewing.
When we tested the video feature in our Samsung Galaxy S2, we found that the Android app downloads and saves the video for offline viewing. A cool feature, we must say, which we liked very much. The storage space used by the Spool mobile app can be adjusted in Settings. Another cool feature of the service is lets you share what you have saved in your Spool with your friends. Letting them enjoy the same stuff you are enjoying.
How To Spool, that is, Save For Later?
Saving stuff to your Spool is very easy. You have three options. You can either use browser extensions (available to Chrome and Firefox users), bookmarklet that will work in any browser or send an email to your personal Spool email address. When you are sending an email with attachment to your custom Spool email address, the attachment along with the mail content is saved in your Spool.
If you install the browser extension, you’ll notice that links (particularly in Google Reader, Google Plus, Google News, Facebook, Twitter, Quora and TechMeme at the time of writing) will have a small Spool icon next to them. We expect to see support for more websites as the service grows.
What Is Spoolbot? How Spool Works?
To know how Spool works and what exactly the Spoolbot is, you have to go just little back in time. In late-2010, Curtis Spencer (present CTO and co-founder) and Avichal Garg (present CEO and co-founder) developed an artificial intelligence and computer vision engine (now known as the Spoolbot) that could record a video from the Internet, encode it to work on any device, and move videos between devices without worrying about Flash or network connectivity. In 2011, this initial technology was generalized to include any type of content – videos, article text, image galleries, PDFs, and more – and Spool was born.
The Spoolbot reads the webpage the way a human would and extracts relevant parts, while discarding the rest (like the ads and other areas of the webpage). Most importantly, the Spoolbot converts the video into mobile-friendly, HTML5-based format, which is playable within any modern smartphone or tablet browser. The videos and other content are also cached to the device, for offline access.
Since, Adobe has decided to stop developing Flash for mobile. Apple has already banned Flash from iOS. So, not depending on Adobe Flash for delivering the videos is a very good decision by the founders of Spool.
In the future, Spool will focus on adding deep linking (automatically pulling down the content for the links within an article you saved), plus intelligent “spooling” of your favorite sites without an explicit request on your part.
So, Should You Go For Spool?
Right now, Spool is still in beta and is free to use. The mobile apps for Android and iOS is also free, but that may change in the future. If you are using services like Instapaper or Read It Later, we will definitely recommend you to use Spool.