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The Safari Reader Arms Race

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the prefer-paper-rock-scissors dept.

Apple 210

JimLynch writes "Apple, by adding Reader to Safari 5, is essentially trying to force an e-book style interface onto the web reading experience. It will never work out over the long haul because web publishers will resist and the end result will be an arms race, with publishers on one side and Apple on the other." Another unmentioned issue is that sometimes it doesn't work. I've found pages where content is omitted from the reader UI.

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That Is a Feature (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566626)

I've found pages where content is omitted from the reader UI.

Yeah, that's how it's supposed to work. You see, we did some lengthy behavioral studies and it turns out that t



hich proves and brings me to the scientifically irrefutable conclusion that the average user actually doesn't use up to 90% of the content they view. After learning our lesson with AT&T, we're all about efficiently utilizing networks and battery power on mobile devices here at Apple. Actually it has saved so much time and resources, we're even eating our own dog food and Apple's networks have been optim

Re:That Is a Feature (2, Interesting)

thePig (964303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566926)

While this is funny - this is indeed what is going to happen in some time with the reader interface.
The web site owners have reason to be peeved - if the user uses reader extensively, for web sites that are ad-based, they have no revenue stream. Why should they then spending their money, time and effort to create the web site contents?

So, either - as OP pointed out, they will intentionally sabotage reader mode or stop serving web pages to safari altogether. I would actually prefer the second option since I think this was a rather unethical thing to do from Apples part.

I am all for technology that enables users - google has shown the world how to provide the users with all support and then make money - for example they provided IMAP support in email, but then created such a beautiful mail interface that people I know use both thunderbird and web client. Thus, Google provide all support, and in turn they ask us to support them by at least viewing their unobstrusive ads.

I consider that a fair give and take. But what apple now has done is unfair - in my opinion. YMMV.

Re:That Is a Feature (4, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567148)

"But what apple now has done is unfair..."

This from a crowd that rabidly defends its "right" to use AdBlock and FlashBlock and NoScript and Greasemonkey.

All of which are add-ons designed (in part) to strip web sites of their ad-based revenue streams.

At least with Safari's reader mode the page loads first -- with the ads. You then make a conscious choice to click the Reader button and just see main body text.

Re:That Is a Feature (-1, Flamebait)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567400)

If you really want to see cognitive dissonance see the crowd that defends "stealing" (cue pedants in 5... 4... 3...) any media they want which also rabidly defends the sanctity of the holy GPL (PBURMS).

Re:That Is a Feature (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567564)

Some of us GPL defenders are hoping to one day see the end of copyright. Yes that will kill off the GPL, but the GPL is unnecessary and needlessly restrictive anyway at that point.

Re:That Is a Feature (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567954)

Some of us GPL defenders are hoping to one day see the end of copyright. Yes that will kill off the GPL, but the GPL is unnecessary and needlessly restrictive anyway at that point.

...and that would result in exactly what most GPL proponents claim is the core of GPL (that the code will stay open) is lost. Without copyright protection, all source will be treated like BSD licensed code more or less. Take any source you want, release binary only, obfuscated into oblivion.

Sure, reverse-engineering is theoretically possible, but not feasible. It is not the preferred form of editing.

Re:That Is a Feature (2, Insightful)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568000)

All of which are add-ons designed (in part) to strip web sites of their ad-based revenue streams.

While I grant your point inasmuch as it's "in part", I think the main appeal of these add-ons is the freedom from the truly annoying ads. I don't mind ads on some sites but the darned instant sound and video ones are absolutely going to go. I use the add-ons then white list sites I trust to not annoy me.

Also not a minor issue is the prevalence of infections coming about via ads lately. This is on the rise and is rather difficult to prevent shy of NoScript (a pain) or an all out ad blocker. I find it somewhat amusing that ad blockers can be viewed as security software to a small degree.

Re:That Is a Feature (4, Funny)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567170)

The web site owners have reason to be peeved - if the user uses reader extensively, for web sites that are ad-based, they have no revenue stream.

No revenue stream? I'm sure Apple will sell them iAds, so what could possibly be the problem?

lol

Re:That Is a Feature (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567180)

But very clever, in an evil sort of way.

Anybody who develops for the web now has the choice of starving(if this catches on broadly), paywalling(good luck with that), or spinning a trivial mobilesafari-in-a-wrapper iDevice App, with the same content and Apple's unskippable iAds...

Re:That Is a Feature (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567764)

I would actually prefer the second option since I think this was a rather unethical thing to do from Apples part.

Unethical?

I'm not going to say you're wrong, but I think that idea needs to be fleshed out a bit more. Is it because you think ad-blockers are unethical? Or do you think it's generally unethical to reformat someone else's page? Or are you among those who suppose that this is part of a grand scheme to herd companies toward using iAds?

Re:That Is a Feature (3, Informative)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567848)

This simply is not true.

The reader is only invoked after the precious page view, and ad-load (provided one isn't blocking ads in their hosts file -- many regular ad blockers extensions simply disappear the ads, not block them). SO how is an ad-based web site affected? Maybe by increased readership because now their articles which are in shitty typography to begin with and are littered with blinking ads are now actually readable!?

What Apple has done is neither unfair or harmful to web sites. Period.

I also use InstaPaper or use the print format to read an article free of all the crap and poor typography.

Re:That Is a Feature (3, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567882)

The web site owners have reason to be peeved - if the user uses reader extensively, for web sites that are ad-based, they have no revenue stream

That's not correct. The page loads initially with all the ads intact; the "Reader" is an option that can only be invoked after the page loads so the site owner gets the same revenue regardless of whether the viewer uses it or not.

Re:That Is a Feature (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568104)

Technically they're only getting revenue from the first page of a multi-page article, but you're still right that it's more than they would get with Ad-Block installed.

Re:That Is a Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567110)

I've found pages where content is omitted from the reader UI.

Yeah, that's how it's supposed to work. You see, we did some lengthy behavioral studies and it turns out that t

hich proves and brings me to the scientifically irrefutable conclusion that the average user actually doesn't use up to 90% of the content they view. After learning our lesson with AT&T, we're all about efficiently utilizing networks and battery power on mobile devices here at Apple. Actually it has saved so much time and resources, we're even eating our own dog food and Apple's networks have been optim

... "with a melon?"

Re:That Is a Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32568026)

Well played! That's the funniest thing I've seen all day!

Force? (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566658)

I wasn't aware someone was forcing me to move the cursor up to the address bar and deliberately click the 'READER' button. I rather thought it was me choosing to do that, mostly to get rid of the junk that appears on these multipage articles.
I'm using the feature heavily. Totally by choice, not by force.


Cheers,
Ian

Re:Force? (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566730)

Here's a second. This is a ridiculous premise. It works for now, and today's browser won't work as well in several years. You're making it sound like this is somehow supposed to be Safari5 for 2020. Weak sauce.

Re:Force? (5, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566732)

It's from Apple, it's an option, therefore it is mandatory.

Re:Force? (2, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567208)

Exactly. Its so insanely great anyone in their right mind would certainly choose to use it thus Apple are making it mandatory because you'd have to be insane not to use it, wait...

Re:Force? (1, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566738)

Cause: "to get rid of the junk that appears on these multipage articles."
Effect: "move the cursor up to the address bar and deliberately click the 'READER' button."

No one held a gun to your head, but you were certainly sound like you were forced. We're all forced to do things we'd rather not do.

I'm not criticizing, more like sympathizing.

Re:Force? (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566806)

Agreed, I love the Reader feature of Safari 5 and personally I actually hope it annoys, pisses off and financially hurts those who insist on spreading one page's worth of content over ten pages cluttered with regular banner ads, those rollover video ads ("Buy our new software/hardware now, it's totally awesome and I'm totally not annoying you by being loud and covering the content you came here for!") and popover javascript/flash banners (lots of tech sites seem to use these as well).

Re:Force? (0, Troll)

shrimppesto (766285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567274)

Word.

Quote from his first Safari Reader bashing article:
"To build a feature like this into their browser and then arrogantly dismiss web advertising as “visual distractions” shows a serious insensitivity to the business model of web publishers."

Riiiiight. And, to build a web page that looks like jimlynch.com and then arrogantly dismissing my reading experience shows a serious insensitivity to your reader.

Hey Jim -- your business model fucking sucks. Adapt or GTFO. I guess I should turn off my popup blocker too, for the sake of your precious revenue.

Re:Force? (2, Funny)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567866)

Unfortunately it seems to fail on those damn "Here's a list we've spread out out over 80 pages." I one time was INCREDIBLY bored and went though an entire "80 Hottest Women in Sci-Fi" things from Digg or Reddit or something like that, and found duplicates. Jesus.

Re:Force? (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566966)

You'll find a lot of misinformation about the Safari Reader feature because it removes ads and combines those incredibly annoying multi-page articles into one page, so online publishers don't want anyone using it. Arstechnica staff came out against it, with one contributor saying, "Jobs can go fuck himself." Needless to say, my desire to use it when reading their site increased.

Re:Force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567412)

Do you think this feature will be available on the ipad and iphone anythime soon? I hope to remove the adds from apple's own marketing agency.

Re:Force? (1, Interesting)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567514)

You know, I used the reader feature for the first time while reading TFA, just to piss him off. But it doesn't look that useful to me. It doesn't start loading the next page until you scroll down to it, so you still have to stop and wait in the middle of your reading (unless you get in the habit of doing a quick scroll to the bottom in advance).
Also, there is no way of knowing what is being left out of the display, either by design or due to a parsing bug. How do I know that I'm not missing a paragraph or a sidenote? I think I would only use this feature on sites with extremely annoying designs, where the usability gain overrides those concerns. I think the best countermeasure for concerned webmasters is simply making sure their websites don't suck.

Re:Force? (1, Troll)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568124)

Try AutoPager for Firefox, it addresses several of your concerns, and from what I gather is far more configurable.

Re:Force? (0, Offtopic)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567858)

You'll find a lot of misinformation about the Safari Reader feature because it removes ads and combines those incredibly annoying multi-page articles into one page

If they're annoying, why do you read them? Why do you go to sites with ads you don't like?

I'm not saying that in a judgmental fashion -- I use ABP and greatly enjoy it. I just realize that I'm having my cake and eating it too, and it's grossly unsustainable. Will Apple provide a similar feature to block iAds from the iOS ecosystem?

We need to revisit micropayments [slashdot.org] . The ad supported model is a continual cycle of unwanted side effects.

Re:Force? (-1, Offtopic)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567128)

I have a MacBook pro and have for years b=now and what Apple has introduced as an 'option' has often turned into a mandatory function. Java used to come with a Cocoa bridge but because they didn't like Java development on Mac, they killed it. Accessing API's used to be something they used to let people do... now if you try to access underlying API's you get booted from their app store.

Apple has a way of changing their mind after everyone is using their tools.

Apple is the new Microsoft... Microsoft is the Old Microsoft... Google is the new Sweetness with Death Cannons on Orbitting Sattelites; I'll be manning one soon. Oxygen is for losers.

Re:Force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567248)

I do agree. It works. Pretty well with the sites I use to browse. And nobody ever forces you to do shift-cmd-R. So, what's the point? What are we discussing about?

Re:Force? (1)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567308)

I wasn't aware someone was forcing me to move the cursor up to the address bar and deliberately click the 'READER' button.

Affordances, affordances, affordances. Choice can still be incredibly restrictive.

Re:Force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567608)

I wasn't aware someone was forcing me to move the cursor up to the address bar and deliberately click the 'READER' button.

Affordances, affordances, affordances. Choice can still be incredibly restrictive.

It is best to be liberal in what you accept and conservative in what you send. A penny saved is a penny earned. You can't go home again.

Now, mind explaining what these truisms have to do with the problem in question?

Re:Force? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568012)

Exactly.

If the website's article is clear and easy to read, with a fair balance between article length and the number of pages it is spread over, then people won't click on the Reader icon as they won't need to.

However some sites are so cluttered and unreadable, with too many moving adverts, that the content is hard to read - indeed the distraction of moving items besides the text (or those hover ads in-lined within the article) actually strain the reader's eyes, and tire the reader's brain. Reader functionality may force these sites to actually consider their readers, and in doing so they might actually increase the number of visitors and thus increase their ad hits.

As an advertiser, I would like people who avoid ads to not generate multiple hits (and thus fees).

This just sucks for the middle-man, the content providers. I'm sure they'll find a way to inline ads in Reader view, but they'll hopefully be static images.

Forcing? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32566700)

"Safari 5, is essentially trying to force an ebook style interface onto the web reading experience"

Uhhhhh - you know it's not the default viewing format, right? So "forcing" is a bit leading.

Re:Forcing? (0, Troll)

batquux (323697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566950)

Yeah, if they wanted to force it, they'd have put it in IE, not Safari.

Re:Forcing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567654)

Troll or not, there is some truth here. Safari doesn't have the market share to force much of anything on the whole of the web.

Hype! (5, Insightful)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566704)

Come on, you're making a mountain out of a molehill here.

80% of Mac users won't use the Reader function, because they either don't know what it does or can't be bothered to click it. The other 20% probably use AdBlock or some other ad-blocking solution anyway.

Besides, as others have pointed out, if people want to use Reader on your site's content, then there is something wrong with your design. Either clean it up, or decide you don't care. There is no "arms race" that you can possibly have. What, you're going to stop serving content to Safari? Good luck with that.

Re:Hype! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32566768)

Nonsense

I don't own a single mac product still think it's a great feature that should be copied by everyone. No one will change their pages to break reader mode, its to much work.

Re:Hype! (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566808)

No one will change their pages to break reader mode, its to much work.

Thats some good shit that you are smoking.

Re:Hype! (5, Informative)

ifrag (984323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566870)

some other ad-blocking solution

For use on OS-X, probably using glimmerblocker [glimmerblocker.org] . Nice for those using multiple browsers since it runs as proxy. Also never becomes incompatible between Safari versions (add-on experience in Safari has been less than ideal during transitions).

Re:Hype! (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567162)

Besides, as others have pointed out, if people want to use Reader on your site's content, then there is something wrong with your design. Either clean it up, or decide you don't care. There is no "arms race" that you can possibly have. What, you're going to stop serving content to Safari? Good luck with that.

You're not thinking creatively enough. If a site wants to display ads, and you figure out one method of separating the ads from the articles, then they will just change the page design until it defeats that. There are lots of things they can do:
- Don't supply the content if you don't download the ad.
- Make the content and ad look as much alike as possible to the browser so it can't tell the difference.
- Start merging the ads into the articles - imagine one big image file with ads and content, for example.

Obviously, any one technique can be defeated,but that's what an arms race is all about.

Re:Hype! (1)

Jonathan A (1584455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567806)

Besides, as others have pointed out, if people want to use Reader on your site's content, then there is something wrong with your design.

Exactly. I've been using Readability [arc90.com] (upon which Reader seems to be based) for a while now and found that I never bother using it on, for instance, Ars Technica. Their site is clean enough that Readability doesn't really offer much benefit.

Re:Hype! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568032)

Well, there are ultimately two different issues going on here. The first is that there is a sort of "arms race" right now between advertisers and people who don't want to see the ads (or people who are providing help to those who don't want to see the ads). We have AdBlock and Safari Reader, and they're trying to come up with ways to make those technologies unhelpful. But it's not about Safari per se, and it's not about Safari "forcing" the web to be an e-reader. It's just an issue of ad-blocking

But there's a second issue that's a little less obvious, which is the idea of reformatting web pages to display in a way other than what the designer intended. This is an issue came up a while ago with GreaseMonkey scripts, but it never became a big deal because so few people use GreaseMonkey. But basically, HTML is a semantic markup language that potentially allows you to parse the information and display it how you want or use it in unanticipated ways. Some publishers and designers don't like that, which is why they get excited about the possibility of passing image files to e-readers (e.g. Wired's iPad app).

Arms Race (4)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566722)

How is this an "arms race"? Analogy doesn't seem appropriate here. **Hype**

Re:Arms Race (1, Informative)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566836)

Publishers will be racing to find ways to break Reader while Apple will be racing to find ways to make it work on deliberately broken content.

Re:Arms Race (3, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566868)

Because it pokes you in the eye with a stick if you see something not approved by Steve Jobs, duh.

Re:Arms Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567126)

It is notable that Americans are likely to use war as a metaphor for everything.

Re:Arms Race (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567194)

As an American, I unfortunately agree with this observation :P

I'd love to believe it's just a linguistic quirk, but... perhaps not

"It'll never work" (5, Funny)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566760)

... says the guy that can't get his PHP page to function without error.

Glorious web? (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566778)

Haha, the example they give for the 'glorious chaos of an article on the web' is an article spread over 8 pages! How glorious.

Re:Glorious web? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566916)

Worse than that, it comes with a link "Download as PDF", which by this guy's own logic, he's trying to force a particular text format on his web users, just like Safari.

Sometimes it does not work (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566816)

Which is the same for /. Does the idle page still give us a text input box 10% of the page?

On every page I have looked at, the reader has worked wonderfully. It may be the feature, along with clicktoflash, that moves me to safari.

Saying this will never work over the long haul is like saying the Camino will never work because it includes a default flash blocker or Firefox will never work because there are too many easily installed plugin to block ads. It is a web feature, apparently an open source web feature [developer.com] , and browsers that want to focus on user experiences will implement it as a default feature, just like pop up blocking. Browsers that do not implement will show themselves as front ends for advertisers, not browsers for users.

There are issues. The readers removes the branding from the site. This could be considered bad. But people will use for the same reason that some choose to use ad blocking. The articles spread out over 10 pages, with long waits for ads to load between pages, and infected ads, will give some cause to bypass the predefined interface. Like other tech, websites will adjust. After all, websites serve the customers, not the other way around.

Re:Sometimes it does not work (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566896)

That definitely needs to be fixed, it's supposed to be 0.10%.

Re:Sometimes it does not work (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567132)

That definitely needs to be fixed, it's supposed to be 0.10%.

It would be an improvement. Reiterate a couple of times and idle would just go away.

Re:Sometimes it does not work (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567494)

I think Idle's supposed to be broken. That's kind of the joke.

Re:Sometimes it does not work (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567982)

After all, websites serve the customers, not the other way around.

This is the answer. Websites which can't survive ad-blocking don't deserve to survive. Find a less offensive way to do business or die. Paywalling leads to irrelevance for all but the finest of content; if it works for you (the global you) then fine.

Um, Nothing new here.. (3, Interesting)

EMR (13768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566832)

So they integrated a "Readability" feature into the browser.. So what.. I've been using this for quite a while as a bookmarklet in Firefox..

http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/

Works great and does (nearly) the same thing.. (It doesn't pull in multiple page articles.)

Re:Um, Nothing new here.. (4, Informative)

figleaf (672550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567070)

There is a even a firefox addon for Readability.
Safari has apparently taken the code from Readability (it says so in the credits).

Re:Um, Nothing new here.. (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567416)

Yes. The Readability add-on is the best Firefox add-on I've come across in the last few years. So much easier on the eyes.

Re:Um, Nothing new here.. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567176)

You say there's nothing new here, then you say your bookmarklet doesn't combine multiple pages. Safari Reader does.

Re:Um, Nothing new here.. (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567460)

Actually, I was just at arstechnica, I enabled the reader, and there was just the one page.

Has the arms race already begun?

Re:Um, Nothing new here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567476)

Apple can never be given credit for adding value to anything. Remember, they're the new Microsoft now, and Slashtards are still Slashtards.

I love how this happens. (5, Insightful)

magnwa (18700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566840)

I'm always amused by stuff like this.

Apple does it: Apple is trying to force an ebook readeresque format.

Firefox does it in an extension: Firefox is allowing users a cleaner, less intrusive reading environment.

Re:I love how this happens. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32566980)

/. desperately needs a -1 Apple Fanboi mod.

Re:I love how this happens. (2, Insightful)

magnwa (18700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567034)

Why? Who said anything about me being an apple fanboi?

For the record, I'm a linux fanboi, if I'm ANY fanboi.

And I've been using ad blockers and flash blockers and readability programs/scripting from greasemonkey LONG before Apple came up with a "READER" button.

Maybe you're just a troll?

Re:I love how this happens. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567236)

So in your mind you see no difference in a pre-rolled feature and an after-the-fact extension?

Interesting.

Re:I love how this happens. (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567350)

So in your mind you see no difference in a pre-rolled feature and an after-the-fact extension?

Interesting.

To the typical end user, there is no difference other than extensions having a higher barrier of entry because they have to be aware of them and know how to install them. Once installed however, they are basically the same from an end user perspective especially if it is not "always on" and has to be toggled on and off by the user like this reader feature.

Re:I love how this happens. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567454)

extensions (have) a higher barrier of entry because (users) have to be aware of them and know how to install them

Ding ding ding!

Once installed however, they are basically the same from an end user perspective especially if it is not "always on" and has to be toggled on and off by the user like this reader feature.

Once installed. And when not broken by updates or the like.

It isn't nearly as simple for the non-skilled user, e.g. Mac's target audience, as you seem to be implying it is. But your comment does show that you're aware of the issue, so I guess that's a start.

Re:I love how this happens. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567300)

I suspect(aside from those who just have a direct bias one way or the other) that this is because Mozilla is(whether they like it or not) basically just a scrappy little software dev house. When you get to the level of extensions, it's at least one level further away from "sinister corporation" than that. Most extensions exist just because some guy hacked them together. Apple, on the other hand, has an entire vertically-integrated and fairly tightly-interlocking ecosystem.

More specifically, in this case, the doomsday scenario that seems to be most popular among those considering it is as follows: "Apple pledges undying love for HTML5, also puppies, kittens, and freedom. Apple introduces new browser feature to bring industrial strength ad-blocking to the masses. Apple introduces a new advertising framework(functionally inescapable on their cryptographically closed iDevices) available to those who embrace the app store, and agree to share a cut of the take with The Jobs."

The Safari Reader Arms Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32566856)

Who is this safari reader? What does he read? With race do he arm and with what?

Its just (2, Insightful)

dacullen (1666965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566888)

Embrace, extend, extingu... oops, wrong evil empire

Coincidence? (5, Insightful)

kylant (527449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566902)

Call me a conspiration theorist but Apple displaying news content without the embedded ads on the web while at the same time trying to establish their own ad-platform and taking 30% of all ads served on the iPhone is a convenient coincidence, don't you think? Cutting off the publishers' revenue streams while at the same time pushing for a new revenue model on mobile phones and tablets sounds like a plan.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567474)

The thing about a conspiracy like that is that Safari would have to have more than a 1% browser share to have any success at decreasing ad revenue. The reader is peanuts compared to ad block software for firefox.

Re:Coincidence? (3, Interesting)

silanea (1241518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567952)

Safari only needs to have a reasonably high share within a certain target group for this to be a valid strategy. If the whole lot of Apple device users - Macs and i* combined - is essentially shielded from any ads but those served through iAd (or whatever the call it), that would indeed pose a significant issue for certain markets. It is not the death of the Interwebz, but I would not be so quick to dismiss this as a loony nutcase conspiracy theory.

Re:Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567524)

spot on.

Re:Coincidence? (2, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567786)

Call me a conspiration theorist but Apple displaying news content without the embedded ads on the web while at the same time trying to establish their own ad-platform and taking 30% of all ads served on the iPhone is a convenient coincidence, don't you think?

Not really. You visit a page, then click on the reader button. The ads on the page still load, you just aren't seeing them while you're reading if you enable the reader. If you're getting paid by the impression, probably not a whole lot of harm done, because most people don't have the patience to click through 5 pages anyway. If you're getting paid per click, I could see where this might hurt.

A matter of fact, A matter of opinion (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566912)

Two things:
  • The author states: The web was never meant to provide a reading experience similar to an ebook or print book. That's patently not true. I set up one of the first websites in the UK (when you still had to email CERN to tell them a new website was in the world :), and I remember just how plain and boring^W"quiet" the WWW was This was before the <IMG SRC= tag came along.

    My point is that the web was *exactly* designed for a quiet reading experience, because it was originally supposed to be for easy dissemination of scientific research. That may not be what it is today (and it's perhaps lesser because of it), but "was never meant to" is precisely wrong.
  • The author then goes on to say (in both text and comments) that there are two main reasons websites split articles over multiple pages - to monetise the site, and to help all those users who fret about scrolling the page.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, the former of those two reasons is dramatically more important to the website author than the latter. I'd go so far as to say the latter was a desperate justification for the former. The author apparently thinks so too, because when challenged to reverse his policy (put everything on one page and have a button to split the article into multiple ones), he demurs.

Now, I'm not against websites making money from advertisers. If that's your business model, all the more power to your elbow, but there are sites out there that extract the proverbial urine, and I'm equally supportive of methods to defeat that. The website absolutely has the right to serve adverts. Equally, the user has the right to work around that if (s)he is sufficiently motivated to. Advertisers seem to want to motivate users to do that, these days, is all I'm saying.

I'm far more likely to read an article on arstechnica that's spread out over multiple pages specifically because each page has a lot of relevant content and it hangs together well. I'm far less likely to want to read a multi-page article where each "page" is a 40-word paragraph - *those* are the sites that Safari Reader will be a blessing for.

It's also not clear to me that this is a doomed battle for Reader. HTTP is a simple protocol, and it's relatively easy to forge a user's browsing habits programmatically

Simon

Re:A matter of fact, A matter of opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567410)

In my not-so-humble opinion, the former of those two reasons is dramatically more important to the website author than the latter.

Not to mention that the second reason doesn't even make sense in the context of Safari Reader. The user manually clicks a button to see the page in Reader mode - it's not something that happens automatically. Any hypothetical anti-scrolling fanatics can just ignore that button and next page >.

Is there Safari Support (1)

Alanonfire (1415379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566944)

for Ubuntu?

Re:Is there Safari Support (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567172)

Well, as a matter of fact [mozilla.org] even better than that.

Force? (2, Interesting)

dindi (78034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32566984)

I do not think they try to force anything.

Just like Greasemonkey modifies web content, Safari offers and alternate view you can use when navigating to a page.

I, for one welcome innovation such as this one.

Arms race? You still go to the page, you still see the banners and the page structure (not missing an ad), THEN you can click on the "READER" in the address bar and bring up the reader interface.

I welcome the idea of reading an actual article without blinking SHIT all over the place, but then again, the blinking SHIT is there, so if you are interested in it, you can click on an ad.

And yes, I click on ads when they are worth clicking on, but I am completely sick of people masking google and other ads as contextual links. They barely take you to a page related to most documents.

Re:Force? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567272)

Just like Greasemonkey modifies web content, Safari offers and alternate view you can use when navigating to a page.

-sarcasm-
Yes, yes, totally. And since it is possible to compile a binary, you can write your own browser to do anything you want. Just the other day I wrote a browser that didn't do this, in fact. I don't see the difference at all.
-end sarcasm-

It doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567020)

. . . because many web developers are complete idiots and don't develop their sites with their heads. Instead they use arcane means of development - like tables - as a quick fix for their design. Don't blame Apple if your brain-dead site doesn't work with Reader. Blame the lazy developer that couldn't be bothered to learn web standards.

But but but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567038)

Jobs said he wanted the web to be open.
The number of times Apple has made itself into a joke since that letter is staggering.

You don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567112)

You don't know what will work out, Steve will tell you what will work out.
What Steve tells you will workout, you will like.

You don't need Safari for this (3, Informative)

Balial (39889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567120)

I've been using this site for much longer than Safari has had this feature:

http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/ [arc90.com]

Does the same thing with no browser extension. You just drop it into your shortcuts on the title bar and it cleans up many webpages. Not perfect, but so much easier than blinking flash crap.

If people want you to not block their ads, make the site readable with the ads on it.

Re:You don't need Safari for this (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567428)

I second that Readability is awesome, and I use it frequently when I use Firefox.

However, the Safari Reader feature does more than readability--it combines multipage articles into one. Beyond that I think it actually uses Readability code?

Apple should target the blind (4, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567192)

I don't see a huge problem with this. Anybody who publishes on the web knows that a client may choose to render the content in arbitrary ways. My browser doesn't have to pull all the images and frames.

I can see this being a big deal for people using screen readers. Apple should market the reader function as an accessibility feature. Why would you block a technology developed for your blind readers?

Cory

Bad Article, imo (2, Insightful)

hemlock00 (1499033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567264)

"There is a reader option on Safari 5." Would be a much better article than the one posted, while sharing the same information and NOT sharing false info. It doesn't always work 100% is truth, but at the same time I'm not being forced to use it, and it's not by default (the most important). This is a poorly written and misleading article unfortunately.

Another scared advertiser? (1)

mikey_by_crikey (1188647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567332)

If web pages actually gave readers what they wanted, they wouldn't need to be afraid. Multi-page articles are a complete annoyance and have now become much more bearable thanks to this feature.

Just to give an idea of how much the author of the article respects the reader, here is an extract from another article [jimlynch.com] that Jim Lynch wrote about the evil threat that is Safari Reader and what it provides:

I highlighted the two worst parts of the description:

1. No ads.

2. Multi-page articles are now essentially one page.

Clearly he is thinking about the consumer when creating content if that statement is anything to go by

On other topic.... his website uses the annoying tynt copy/paste functionality. Argh!

Re:Another scared advertiser? (1)

kamikaze2112 (792393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567668)

I wonder if Mr. Lynch is mad at me for reading that article with the Safari reader?

Isn't that the point of markup? (4, Informative)

AccUser (191555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567526)

Whilst I accept that a lot of people presume that the HTML served from their web server is going to be rendered as they intended in the client browser, that is not, and should not be a foregone conclusion. HTML describes content - it is then for the client browser to render that content. Extracting just the content I am interested in is surely a valid use of that content, and unless web sites start to use a different model for their content (i.e. restrictive) then this should not really be a surprise.

I have used Reader, and I personally like it, but I have only used in on a handful of websites that are chock-full of spurious crap other than the content I am interested in.

Tower of Babel (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567594)

At some point, and it looks like soon, the Internet will hit a "Tower of Babel Moment" where the so-far successful universal interconnectivity of all systems will falter, fracture, and fragment into limited-interaction groups. By choice or by consequence, participants adhering to different standards will just lose the ability to communicate. Intense vertical integration on one platform will cause fundamental incompatibility with others, and "universal access" will become impractical.

Safari? (0, Troll)

deadcrow (946749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567650)

Isn't admitting you use Safari instead of Firefox kind of like admitting you use IE6?

Not that big of a deal. (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567718)

This isn't being forced. This isn't stopping ads from loading. All this does is hilight the article content in an easy to read way, through the user's own actions.

What we might see as a result is that the content providers might not use the <article> tags (bad), or simply insert a premium-price ad image within the article text on each page, so the article is divided into sections by advertisements when Reader is used (better, still not technically standards-compliant). Initial page loads still view the ads, and reader will still load images IIRC, so AdBlock/NoScript is still a bigger problem. Nothing to see here.

Thanks for complaining... (1)

cwingrav (8705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567746)

... I now tracked down what this reader thing is. It's awesome. Great feature THAT I CHOOSE TO CLICK ON TO USE.

Honestly, how is this a major complaint by people? Am I a fan-boy for liking this?

Gads, Slashdot used to be interesting and informative. The editors need a vacation to relax. In fact, take an iPad and read a good book!

ReplayTV mark II, but Apple has the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32567760)

These are the same feeble arguments used by TV advertisers when the old ReplayTV boxes would automatically skip ads for you. Instead of figuring out a way to make ads less obtrusive so people wouldn't skip them, they sued ReplayTV out of existence, and everyone has been too afraid or bought off to institute that feature since.

So, we're forced to do without a more than 10 year old feature that most people would desire, because advertisers think they have a constitutional right to make their money in exactly the same way forever.

Sounds fair, ya?

Go Reader. Yay team.

Am I the only one (1)

oryan_dunn (998842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567816)

Am I the only person who saw the headline and thought it was about an arms race by e-reader manufacturers to be the first to support safari books online?

It serves Apple's customers (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568052)

I have no idea how this plays into the corporate strategic chess game.

For me, it's very simple. I am Apple's customer, and Apple has put a darned nice feature into the web browser that makes the web work more nicely for me. I'm surprised nobody's done it before. I'm glad they've done it now. I'll enjoy it for as long as it works.

One of the things I dislike about Microsoft is that they never act as if I were their customer. I always feel that everything they do has a string attached, a hidden agenda, and they always serve Microsoft's needs first, then those of Dell and HP. I'm not even sure Microsoft regards me as their customer.

Oddly enough, the thing I like best about the "reader" is not that it removes ads, but that it allows me to read something in one window while it flips the pages of some interminably slow multipage article, and then lets me look at the completed article without waiting for new pages to load. I'd like it even if it preserved all the ads.

Pop ups? (1)

pmonje (588285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32568168)

Strange I don't remember this many complaints when browsers started including pop up blockers.
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