M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Safari 5: Apple hype in overdrive

with one comment

(Fun update at the end!)

Besides its speed, which is real and impressive, the big feature everyone seems to be touting in Apple’s new Safari 5 is something called Reader, which strips a page to its simple text. Setting aside the hand-wringing over whether it Presages the Death of Ads (© Every Blogger With a Media Job Inc.), the truly impressive thing about Reader is how Apple has swallowed a simple java bookmarklet, which already works in Chrome, IE, Firefox and as far as I know Netscape 1, and spit it back out to Apple fanboys as some major advance.

People, this is just Arc90’s Readability bookmarklet, or a very convincing ripoff. If you’re reading this in any other flavor of browser, you can enjoy the exact same utility. It’s free, and it’s at http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/.

Screenshots after the jump.

Safari 5 Reader:

CNet in Safari 5 Reader

Readability bookmarklet in Google Chrome:

Heck, Readability is a better option. Notice those translucent printer, refresh and e-mail buttons at the top? You have to scroll all the way to the bottom to get the same functions in a Reader-rendered page.

There may be other reasons to adopt Safari 5 now, but don’t put yourself through the hassle of switching browsers, exporting and reimporting bookmarks, tweaking settings from scratch and learning new hot commands if it’s the Reader hype you’re buying.

(Full disclosure: I work indirectly for Microsoft through msnbc.com. But I don’t use IE. I’m a Chrome/Android guy.)

(Update at 3:27 PT: Dan Kennedy at Northeastern University points out, correctly, that Arc90’s code can be glitchy on Mac versions of Chrome. That does make Reader the better option for Mac-only users. My complaint isn’t really with Reader, anyway. It’s with the hype that plays into the Mac-is-better-than-PC-by-definition argument. In this case, it’s not.)

Written by Alex

June 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Tech

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] Readability that did exactly the same thing. But it was glitchy compared to Safari Reader, which Johnson concedes is “the better option for Mac-only […]


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