Since I use multiple mobile devices on various platforms, it sometimes gets to be a chore trying to read saved web pages when offline. Some of my devices support Instapaper, while others work with Read It Later. Both are great apps, but rather than install either one, I’d prefer to use an existing app that I’m already using for other functions. Evernote fits the bill and the new Evernote Clearly browser extension that launched in November is finding more use in my daily browsing; both on- and offline.
I probably should have looked closer at Evernote prior to Clearly, because the product has supported web clipping for ages. And it has clients for most of the mobile platforms out there today: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and even webOS. Clearly includes the same web clipping technology Evernote already had, but adds another key function: Cleaner reading of web pages on the desktop. In fact, its very similar to the Reader function in Apple’s Safari browser because it removes everything from a web page except for the content and then presents it in a clean, easy to read format.
Evernote Clearly is available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and I’ve been using more and more on the desktop to view web pages. There are three themes available to view web content — Newsprint, Notable and Night Owl — and you can quickly modify the text between three different sizes. Once I started to use Clearly to read on the desktop it only made sense to start clipping pages to Evernote for offline viewing, as the button to do so is right there in the browser extension.
This add-on won’t help you save web content for offline use if you’re already reading it on a mobile device, but it’s superb for saving web pages from the desktop for later reading on a mobile. The pages are saved as standard notes in the Evernote client, which is available on nearly all mobile devices. I’m finding this to be the best option for the way I work right now, and something worth a try for anyone who uses a mobile device for reading offline content; especially if you’re already using Evernote for something else.
Obviously, it’s not the only option. If you’re embedded in the iOS and OS X world, then Instapaper probably makes the most sense, as does the Reader function in Safari. Besides, iOS 5 brought the “Read Later” function to iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices.
Android users might prefer Read It Later for offline web reading, especially if the Dolphin Browser is the web client of choice. Why? There’s a Read It Later extension for the mobile browser. But even the stock browser in Android can share or save pages to Read It Later. I was relying on both of these methods, depending on which device I was using at the time, but with Evernote Clearly, I’m well covered on the desktop and any mobile device I use thanks to the Evernote client.