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Evernote launches soothing article reader

Nice little plug-in helps readers focus on the content of the story they're reading.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

The note-taking powerhouse Evernote is launching a pleasant little browser plug-in, Clearly, that gives you a clean, story-only view of what you're reading in Chrome (today) or Firefox (later). Safari users, Apple already gave you this. It's called the Reader view.

Clearly also lets you clip your article to your Evernote notebook, which is kind of nice. My readers know I'm an Evernote junkie, and I've been using Evernote as a quasi-bookmarking service anyway. Sometimes I save just a URL of an article I want to refer back to in my notebook, sometimes the whole article. And not just to save the text, but also because it can be easier to read an article inside Evernote than on the Web page it originated from. Such is the sad state of Web design today, but I digress. Clearly gives you a super-clean, Kindle-like story display while you're still on a site.

It's beautiful and fast, but it does strip out the ads when it's invoked. You know, those annoying elements on the page that pay the salaries of the writers so you can read the content for free. Everynote CEO Phil Libin wrote to me, "By giving site visitors a beautiful long-form reading experience, I think we're increasing their loyalty and lifetime value to publishers. However, we don't have a complete answer yet."

He does actually have a point: You can't fire up Clearly unless you're on an article page, seeing ads. So the impact of this plug-in should be very small, at least as far as ad tracking systems can discern.

This is a good plug-in, and I recommend it, especially for Evernote users.

A Clearly view of a News.com story. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET
The article as it appears on News.com without Clearly engaged. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET