The Magic of Apps

Imagine a world without apps, a world without advancements in technology. You all right? Did someone need to resuscitate you? A world without technology would be a hard place for many people to even begin to imagine, especially for those of us who were born in the Information Age.

On February 1, 2011 the New York Times had an article by Jenna Wortham, which discussed some of the tools and applications available to us that have made reading articles from the Web much easier. Unfortunately, for many publishers and advertisers these applications distort the content by removing unwanted ads and distorting the page layout. Readability, which was created by Richard Ziade, takes a Web article and removes most everything that surrounds the text. In one click all photographs and ads are magically gone.

Readability has been negatively reviewed from the point of view of an advertiser, but Ziade states “We were never about striping ads or being an ad blocker” (B1). Ziade explains that Readability was created in order to make reading online easier.

Developers behind the tool wanted to create some sort of system in giving money back to those outlets where the content is coming from. They established a “subscription fee of $5 a month” and 70 percent of that fee will be given back to those publishers of the page viewed.

Will this method of payment work out between the developers of Readability and the various outlets? How will the appropriate percentage be distributed and how will this amount be checked for accuracy?

This seems to be the future of reading on the Internet, but to me it isn’t something new or shocking. I find the advertisements and some page layouts of Web articles very distracting and disruptive of my reading. Most of the time I click Print Friendly version because that eliminates all the ‘junk’ scattered and embedded amongst the article.

What do you think of this new tool? Are you the next subscriber?


Wortham, Jenna. “Apps Customize How Users Read Content Online.” New York Times.1 Feb. 2011. Print. B1, B2