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Experimental Reader Mode arrives in stable Chrome for Android

Over the course of this year, Google has been working on a Reader Mode in Chrome for Android. The feature strips unwanted content from a web page in the browser, making it easier to just read articles and see relevant pictures. Safari for iOS has this mode and Microsoft added it to Windows Phone a few months back as well.

Now, it’s here for Chrome on Android, although it’s still in an experimental mode. Here’s what it looks like, along with the icon (in blue) to use it:

chrome reading mode example

[company]Google[/company] actually added Reader Mode to Chrome for Android months ago, but it was only available in the Beta version of Chrome. The other option was to hack your own solution.

I was nosing around the Stable version of Chrome — v. 39.0.2171.59 on a Verizon Moto X 2014 running Android 5.0 — and noticed the setting. I also double-checked for it and found the setting on recently updated Nexus 5. I’ve heard reports that it works on Android KitKat as well. That means it appears to be generally available for Android devices, even without installing or using the Beta Chrome app.

Since it’s experimental, you still have to find the setting manually; there’s no easy-to-spot checkbox for this yet. Instead, type chrome://flags in Chrome for Android 5.0 and scroll down to the Enable Reader Mode Tool Icon option. Click the Enable button underneath this choice and tap the Relaunch button.

chrome reading mode settings

From there, going forward, you should see a new icon when browsing most websites. Look to the left of the address bar to find it, tap it and you’ll get a clean edition of the page you want to read.

This post was updated at 12:40pm adding that the feature works on Android KitKat as well as Lollipop.

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