So much to read online and still no one has come out with an app to stretch time. Workarounds for non-elastic time include several kinds of “read it later” apps. And now, Amazon is extending its “read it later” functionality, with a Send to Kindle button for Websites and WordPress blogs. 

The Send to Kindle button has become available on Time magazine and other news sites. Once sent, the reading material can be read anywhere in your Kindle galaxy, including the Kindle device or the free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad and Android phones/tablets. Or, in Amazon’s slogan that parodies the “Write Once, Run Anywhere” scheme of Java, HTML5 and other multiplatform efforts: “Send Once, Read Everywhere.”

Virtual Xerox

Another possible use for the Send button is in research for school or work, where the function acts like a virtual and immediate Xerox of all information sources.

The site- or blog-based Send to Kindle button is only one part of Amazon’s growing Send family. There are Send plugins for the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers, with an Apple Safari one coming soon. There’s also a Send to Kindle Email Address, and you can send from an app on a PC, Mac or Android device.

What about existing read-it-later apps like Pocket, Instapaper, Kippt, Evernote and others? Amazon’s Send function is essentially device-independent, since there are a variety of software-based ways to read Kindle content, so that advantage by independent apps seems neutralized.

Their model for survival could be, say, Dropbox or Box, which provide online storage and sharing that Google can easily trump. But those companies are continually adding new services, and rapidly evolving into something much more than where they began.

Add Value

Pocket, for instance, has been releasing new sharing features, and Kippt and Evernote provide extensive features, but one can imagine them, or others like them, taking this much further down that road. A good research paper for instance, could easily collect a mass of material that is the online equivalent of a large drawer stuffed with clippings, unless the right organizing and finding tools are available.

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In fact, the read-it-later apps, if they become really popular, could do for Web and blog content what the DVR did for television: turn it into reader- or viewer-driven schedule, as opposed to a TV network- or Web site-driven one. In other words, the user doesn't have to jump to read a news story -- or watch a TV program -- because it might soon vanish or you might not easily find it later.

For instance, why can’t a read-it-later app organize my content based on my reading patterns, the way Yahoo has begun to do? How about integration with other content-oriented apps? The question is whether the better independent apps can innovate faster, with more partners, than Amazon.