Instapaper, the reader app that lets you save Web pages and look at them later, has released a new feature called Speed Reading. Users can speed-read 10 articles per month for free, and premium users can do infinite speed-reading on their mobile devices. The feature joins a growing group of speed-reading software that’s pushing the limit of how much content we can consume.
Instapaper offers speed-reading as an option within its “action icon” on mobile as well as in its navigation bar on desktop. All you have to do to start blazing through all those articles you (optimistically) saved yesterday is hit the “Speed” button and watch the words fly by. In a blog post, the company explained that this speed-reading approach is called rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). It’s “meant to help you eliminate subvocalization, that voice in the back of your mind repeating words as you read them, and reduce time lost scanning between words. The result is a more focused, faster reading experience,” the company wrote.
The Instapaper feature is reminiscent of software from the speed-reading company Spritz, which started licensing its product for inclusion in other apps and services last year. There’s also the app Spreeder – and others, too – that have similar functionality. Instapaper developed its speed-reading capabilities in-house, but the goal of bringing instant reading-speed improvements to any user who wants them seems similar.
On Slate last year, Jim Pagels wrote of Spreeder, “My dependency on this application is so great that print text now seems difficult to focus on, and I find myself seeking out ebooks rather than print ones so that I can feed them into Spreeder.”
Maybe it’s all an elaborate conspiracy to hook us on speed-reading so we can. ...
OK, yeah, it’s probably just a cool app feature.