UPDATED: Tired of wading through all manner of ads and clutter on a website when reading an online article? Well, Evernote, the note-taking and productivity start-up, has come up with its own solution. It’s introducing a browser extension called Clearly that offers users a way to isolate a story and present it in a clean view that strips out navigation, ads and links to other content and then slides away when a user is done.
The idea is to create an elegant reading environment that lets people appreciate the text without getting distracted by all the other things on the page. One of the nice features is that a story that’s normally spread over more than one page is automatically created in one take through Clearly.
Users can choose to view text in three pre-set themes: Newsprint for that newspaper look; Notable for a modern clean view and Nightowl, which provides a dark background for night viewing. Clearly users can also customize their own theme by setting their own colors, fonts and alignment.
The Clearly browser extension is available first on Chrome (s goog) and is expected to come to Firefox soon. It includes integration with Evernote’s other extension, Web Clipper, which enables users to save a story for later reading a la Instapaper. So if you don’t finish a story, you can still read it later.
I’m not sure I want to strip out all links, which can be very helpful at times; I wish that was a setting instead. But it’s also good to kill off those in-text ads that pop up when you hover over a certain link. Overall, this might be helpful for people who want a less distracting way to read the web in peace. I’d just be happy to use this for longer multi-page stories. I hate it when a site breaks up a story unnecessarily just for more clicks.
UPDATE: The extension doesn’t strip out links. They still appear a couple shades darker than the regular text but they are less noticeable until you hover over them.