When New York-city based Betaworks bought a majority stake in Instapaper, taking over operations, product development, and staffing from creator and one-time bagel-maker Marco Arment, it didn't waste much time giving the minimal read-later app a facelift.
The core of the service didn't change--it still allowed readers to clip web articles to read on their phones and tablets later--but it pretty clearly demonstrated that Betaworks was serious about taking Instapaper from a very useful niche service to a polished product with mass appeal.
Today, Betaworks announced a few new tweaks to Instapaper--some whitespace here, a little a sidebar rejigger there--the most significant of which is the ability to highlight passages of text.
When you highlight something like, say, this very forgettable sentence, it will save the quoted text in a new "Highlights" sidebar, which can be called up at your convenience across all your devices. From there, you can share the quote to Facebook, Twitter, and the other usual platforms, so you can show off to your friends that you actually read stuff.
The catch is that you'll only be able to highlight five passages per month lest you sign up for Instapaper's premium subscription, which costs $1 per month for a minimum of three months. (So: $3.) It's not the only additional feature you'll get (full-text search is nifty), but if you like to subtly pepper your Facebook News Feed with show-offy New Yorker paragraphs, or just want the ability to keep track of notable bits of prose, it might be worth the monthly extra buck.
[Image: Flickr user Johan Larson]