If there’s one thing I’m surprised that’s gone unnoticed in all the kerfuffle following Apple’s keynote on Monday, it’s the launch of Safari 5 and, more specifically, the addition of its new Reader feature. What does it do? Well, it detects when there’s something that approximates to an article on the page you’re on, and gives you a little Reader icon in the URL field, in the same place you normally see the RSS icon. Click that, and you get the view in the picture.
It’s a stripped-down, easy to read version of the article, with all the page clutter gone. It’s, frankly, lovely – a really good way to focus down on the content without being distracted by all the stuff we shove around the main point of the page.
A couple of people have suggested that publishers should be afraid of this – after all, it takes away all the advertising and links to other material. However, the Reader is only triggered once you hit the page, and you return to the original page as soon as you click outside the reader area. Indeed, providing intelligent places for readers to go next probably becomes even more important, as the Reader strips out the links within the content.
It does make me wonder if some of the design ideas from the iPad (or should I be calling it iOS now?) are finding their way back into the desktop products.