For those looking to ‘bookmark’ online articles or videos to consume later, there’s the likes of Pocket. And for those looking to enjoy a good ebook whilst tapping a slew of nifty social features, Readmill has them covered.
Now, a new iOS app called Dotdotdot is seeking to bring these two worlds together, while throwing another handful of handy features into the mix too.
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Essentially, Dotdotdot lets you build your own personal library of long-format texts, building an archive of your reading history. You can search all your highlights and quotes, tag them, sort them and revisit that inspirational nugget over and over.
How it works
First up, it’s worth noting that Dotdotdot is in open beta following an extended closed period, so you’ll be greeted with a message saying so when you first launch the app.
You can then create a Dotdotdot account either using your email address or Facebook/Twitter credentials, and you’re good to go. In the main menu pane, you’ll see a list of options to get you started – ‘All Texts’ and ‘Unread’ is where your texts will ultimately show up, but first you need to add content.
Now, you can import your ebooks through connecting with Dropbox, letting you reel in DRM and .epub files. But, unlike Readmill, you can also browse the Web directly through Dotdotdot, and when you find content you wish to read later, simply hit ‘import’.
Herein lies the first flaw – many people, myself included – don’t necessarily browse the Web specifically looking for content to save for later. It’s likely you’ll just stumble upon something, perhaps a long-form piece, which you wish to read while on the train later that day.
To do this here, you’ll have to adopt Dotdotdot as your main browser, something I’m not sure many people will wish to do. Dotdotdot will need to integrate with third-party apps and services for the real value to be unlocked here. However, if you’re saving articles to your library via the browser bookmarklet (more on that below), then this won’t be an issue.
Moving on. You can give your selected article a new name and save it to your library. Here, you can read the article free from distraction, and the scrolling actually adopts a book-like horizontal approach, rather than scrolling up and down, as with the Web.
This is where you’ll see similarities to the likes of Readmill. You can highlight chunks of text, make comments, and see what other users are reading and commenting on too. And Berlin-based founder Thomas Schinabeck says that they hope to add integrations with other apps soon, and there will also be an option to send a URL via email to Dotdotdot – similar to what you can already do with Pocket.
Meanwhile, you are able to copy any URL into your pasteboard and import the text behind this URL, which is evidently designed as a stop-gap until an easier way to save articles to your library from mobile is rolled out.
Dotdotdot is available for Web, iPad and iPhone – the latter of these versions has a slightly reduced feature set and is more geared towards reading, rather than interacting with other users. The Web and iPad incarnations let you properly engage with the community that’s building up around the reading service.
It’s also worth noting at this point that there’s also a browser extension (similar to Pocket) that lets you save all online texts to your library at the click of a button, syncing it across platforms. So, say you’re reading something on your laptop, you can quickly save it to read later on any compatible device.
Dotdotdot is a really nice app, and it shows a lot of potential, but its beta credentials are evident to see. It has to make it a lot easier to save articles to your library from mobile, something that will happen with future updates.
Also, it may seem like an obvious thing to say but, well, that’s because it is. An Android version is needed too, something we’re told is on its roadmap.
We’ll be sure to check back on Dotdotdot a little further down the road to see how things have progressed.
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