Apps – Redefining the way we read the Web
The DVR rocked the world of television by letting viewers skip commercials and build their own home viewing schedules. Now a handful of Web services and applications are starting to do much the same thing to online publishers.
These tools make it easier for people to read Web articles how, when and where they want, often dispensing with publishers’ carefully arranged layouts and advertisements.
One popular tool, Readability, strips articles to the bare minimum of text and photographs with a single click. But now, Readability wants to give something back to publishers.
On Tuesday, the developers behind the tool will unveil a service that requires a subscription fee of at least $5 a month. The service, also called Readability, plans to distribute 70 percent of that fee to the news outlets and blogs that each subscriber is reading.
Apple now builds Readability into its Safari browser, Amazon uses it in the Kindle, and it is built into several mobile applications, including Flipboard, Pulse and Reeder. Mr. Ziade said it was difficult to track how many people were using the tool, but thousands of people visit the Readability home page each day.
Readability is one of many services experimenting with the future of reading. A wave of applications, including Pulse, Flipboard and My Taptu, are responding to changes in how people prefer to read on the Web, putting articles and blog posts into cleaner or more attractive visual displays.
Read It Later, a Web and mobile service that saves articles to be read offline, said there was a larger shift under way, one that mirrors the move to digital from print. Instead of thumbing through the newspaper over breakfast, he said, people like to read articles from many sources on their commutes or in the evening, often using mobile devices. Recently analyzed data from this service, which has three million users, and found that those who owned an iPhone or iPad preferred to save articles for a personalized prime time. IPad reading, in particular, peaks from 8 to 10 p.m.
A key trend developing is that people don’t really want to have to be confined to a specific place, time, site or device to read content…..appointment reading aided by apps gives us the freedom an convenience to do so.