Realtime communicating is a lot of fun and enjoy being able to blog on WordPress. As noted I am hoping to see Open Attribute support added to WordPress.com soon to make attributing Creative Commons openly licensed works easier. I have written about the effect of filter bubbles erected by social networks and raised the question of whether social networks are anti social earlier. I’ve detailed the virtues of the open web as a global and advanced telecommunications network for freely sharing and communicating with others. I’ve also described how when we form our own groups online, what Google+ calls circles how it is isolating us from others not in our circles or our friends list on Facebook. One of the most talked about features of Apple’s Safari 5 has been the Safari Reader feature a button that delivers a stripped down ad-free, extra readable version of any web article. If it sounds similar to the open source Readability bookmark-let and browser plugin I mentioned in my previous blog entry that’s because Apple copied the open source Readability code to deliver Safari Reader. I talked about the implications in my previous entry for publishers and advertisers when readers can bypass ads in online articles available for free on the web which is possibly what’s driving some news websites to start putting up pay walls to make readers for the first time ever pay for the content. I am anxiously awaiting the release of iOS 5 which will bring the Safari Reader feature to Apple’s iOS devices and am already using Instapaper’s iOS app on my iPod Touch. My previous blog entry also mentioned Instapaper which like Readability offers an online reading list service for users that unlike Readability’s reading list service is free but includes ads. I mentioned to remove the ads from one’s reading list and Instapaper account users of Instapaper would just like users of the premium Readability service have to pay up subscription fees.
I’ve previously detailed the benefits of Readability for consumers and the problem it poses for online advertisers while praising them for their alternative revenue model to compensate publishers online even when their ads are bypassed by users. Readability’s mission is to deliver a better web designed for readers. Just imagine a web without blinking ads and crowded pages making reading on the web less of a hostile environment for the reader. The best part about Readability is their browser plugins and bookmark-lets are cross platform compatible. Readability has browser plugins for Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. However users can add their Read Now and Send to Kindle bookmark-lets to Opera even. Furthermore Readability bookmark-lets are supported by a number of modern browsers including Internet Explorer 8+. Unfortunately, Readability’s iOS app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch submitted for inclusion in Apple’s iOS App Store was recently rejected but you can still use Readability browser based bookmark-lets on iOS devices. Also with Readability compatibility available for a number of tablet computers and e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle chances are the device your using either already is compatible with Readability or may be compatible soon.
Being able to use Readability or a Safari Reader like implementation of the Readability feature with any modern web browser and device will make the web a more enjoyable place for readers regardless of what browser software or device they use in accessing the web. The question is will readers taking advantage of such new features also pay up subscription fees to support writing using Readability and Instapaper’s premium services or will publishers and advertisers spooked by Readability succeed in erecting pay walls for all online content requiring the reader to pay for the information in exchange for an ad free experience. Will features like Readability cause news to be monetized online and put behind pay-walls requiring readers to pay to access and read the news. Or will news still be available freely online but users be encouraged to pay subscription fees for the convenience of having an ad free online reading list?
- Second Blog Entry Tues Aug 2nd (maneeshpangasa.wordpress.com)
- Turn Online Articles Into a More Enjoyable Experience (robinmonks.com)
- iOS 5: Safari Improvements (macstories.net)