Finding Readability Extension for Chrome Impressive

Chrome is now my browser of choice now that I am weaning myself off Zotero. Not all sites, even some Google sites, are Chrome compatible. For example the mapping page for Picasaweb albums in Chrome always fails for me. So I need to keep Firefox to hand for these cases.

Nevertheless I am surprised almost every day by the effectiveness in terms of productivity gain of the extensions and apps available via the Google Web Store. My favourite of the last couple of weeks is the Readbility extension that has been around for a while but is so useful in its new incarnation for Chrome. In blog posts, news articles and similar, Readability removes all the extraneous header, footer and sidebar contents and just shows you the text and links in the main page content using a readable font family and size.

As an example, the first paragraphs from this page fragment:

2011-02-18 SNAG-01

become, at a single click in the toolbar, a much more easily read:

2011-02-18 SNAG-00

Buttons allow you to return to the original page, print and email the readable text.

My only beef is that Readability uses a fixed-width, centred layout which generally wraps some longer lines of text in my favourite 960×1080 (half HD) browser window size. This is a problem that is very easy for Readability to fix so I hope they are ‘listening’.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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