Chrome Beta for Android adds reader mode for clutter-free articles

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The newest Chrome beta for Android finally has a reader mode that strips away ads and other superfluous graphics from articles.

You can trigger it in the settings, which will then remake the web page format so it’s easier on the eyes. 

The implementation is rather rough at the moment, as a couple of different articles crashed the browser when I tried it out. Also, the social buttons that are common across many sites, such as “More like this,” tend to get unnecessarily integrated into the text. 

chrome beta android with reader

Read all your favorite articles with a clean, distraction-free interface.

You’ll notice a dog paw next to the Reader mode command, which Google typically uses to flag a feature still in the “dogfood” phase. The term refers to “eating your own dog food,” which is corporate-speak for testing out features internally or with a beta group before releasing them to the masses.

The new version of Chrome Beta is in the Play Store now. If you already have Chrome Beta on your phone or tablet and can’t trigger the update, you can grab the APK from Android Police.

Why this matters: Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have had a clean-reading mode in both mobile and desktop versions for years, so Google is quite late to the game here.

Considering that Google still makes the bulk of its revenue from Internet ads, it’s not exactly in the company’s best interest to offer this feature, but sometimes usability wins out. Given how rough the beta version is, it may be a while before it hits the Chrome stable channel.

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