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Pinterest is making investments to help users discover and save articles on its visual search engine. The company announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Instapaper, the online bookmarking service that was created by Tumblr cofounder Marco Arment. In contrast to previous deals, this time Pinterest has picked up both the technology and a majority of the team in its move to boost content sharing on the service.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pinterest said that Instapaper will continue to operate as a separate app, adding that “a majority” of Instapaper’s three-person team will be joining Pinterest. One casualty of this acquisition: Instapaper’s developer product, Instaparser, which will be shut down on November 1, 2016.
Founded by Arment in 2008, Instapaper served as an app that let users shelve articles to read at their leisure. It competed against the likes of Pocket, Flipboard, Evernote (at one point), and Readability. With a “Read Later” bookmarklet, users could select any webpage and have it saved to Instapaper to read later across any device. The service is available on iOS, Android, and Kindle devices.
Five years later, however, Arment sold a majority share in Instapaper to Betaworks, claiming that the service had become too big for him to manage alone. The deal was structured to keep Instapaper around for as long as possible, and Arment even remained on as an adviser. During this time, the company explained that it had rewritten its backend, overhauled its mobile and web clients, improved search, and launched highlights, text-to-speech, and speed reading features for the product.
Fast forward to today, and the service is owned by Pinterest. “Instapaper provides a compelling source for news-based content, and we’re excited to take those learnings to Pinterest’s discovery products,” Instapaper said in a blog post. “We’ll also be experimenting with using our parsing technology for certain Rich Pin types.” Users should not experience any disruptions with Instapaper as a result of the deal.
The benefit for Pinterest is that it is acquiring a team that specializes in saving content from the web to an app, something that millions of people do on Pinterest daily. Pinterest does have a save button that encourages users to push content to the service, but it’s likely Instapaper will assist in the distribution of articles and information from publishers. It will likely also improve indexing and recommendations, especially as Pinterest invests in how pins and videos are distributed.
Instapaper’s team will move from their offices in New York City to San Francisco. As mentioned earlier, Instaparser is being shut down. The company is no longer accepting signups for new users and has halted billing for existing customers. The service will be terminated in November.
Brian Donohue, Instapaper’s chief executive, said in a statement: “The missions of Instapaper and Pinterest are aligned in helping people easily save content, and we’re excited to join forces. The Pinterest team is working on unique technical challenges, and their collective skill will add tremendous value to Instapaper. Additionally, I’m personally looking forward to working on new projects and integrations within Pinterest.”
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