back to article Apple adds 'make the web go away' button to Safari 5

Steve Jobs didn't get around to mentioning Safari 5 in his WWDC keynote last night, but it rolled out anyway shortly after he finished up, and today publishers throughout the world are surely beginning to wonder, 'hang on, what's this Reader thing?' Safari 5 has a nice little button next to the URL that effectively kills the …


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  1. Jay Hayman
    Jobs Horns

    I see...

    I see, so Apple giveth in one hand (iAds) and takes away with another (reader). Sounds like Microsoft to me.

    1. guybles

      Ah, sweet misunderstanding

      iAds can be used in iPhone/iPod touch apps only. Developers of apps can choose to use them, if they wish. General internet browsing is entirely subject to whatever advertising the advertiser the site's owner has chosen to use.

      But, y'know, don't let research or facts get in the way of your anti-Apple rant.

      Now, if you happened to be Google, then you might have something to say...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        Misunderstanding? I think not, you typical brainwashed fanboi

        The comment is valid and it wasn't a rant. This is a rant. Apple have just announced they're going to provide an advertising platform and at the same time they're allowing their fanbois (like you) to block other ads. It's just another move towards the Jobsian Apple-only world view and like a gullible fool, you can't see it for what it is.

        Please wake up and smell the coffee (or do you only drink white plastic odour-free iCoffee(TM)?)

  2. RichyS
    Thumb Up

    Tried it...

    ...and liked it.

    Works great as a 'boss key'. No, I'm not faffing around reading El Reg and other websites, I'm reviewing an important document....

  3. vincent himpe


    he's going to flood the web with his iAd's and then sell us overhyped , over expensive appliance with a button to remove that junk. The man's a freaking marketing genius !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iAds is for Apps

      Except iAds is specifically for free apps on a single platform, the iPhone, and are functionally just a competitor to AdMob and that is all.

      So, tell us how are Apple going to flood the web with them again?

      1. Lou Gosselin


        Having a standard ad serving mechanism in apps means that apple can charge users a fee to flip the kill switch so that premium users can disable all the ads showing up on their ipads.

        Accessing this switch may be another reason users may wish to consider jailbreaking.

      2. vincent himpe


        The browser is an app right ?

        click the button : strip all junk , serve stripped page and surround with iads....

        ka-ching !

  4. vincent himpe

    oh, i forgot

    i hate marketing types.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Firefox plugin?

    I suspect it won't be very long before a plug-in is made for Firefox that does the same thing. Combined with Adblocker and Noscript, it could be very useful.

  6. The Unexpected Bill

    Great idea to build it into the browser...

    I'd seen and played with Readability a few months ago and thought that "this would really be great in a browser". And then I promptly forgot about it, pushing it on to some mental back-burner. I didn't even try to see if an extension to put it in a browser was available.

    I don't mind web advertising for the most part, not even those gyrating banners of days (hopefully) past were enough to put me off. No, what really just tore it all up for me were those pesky ads that would double-underline certain words in text and pop something up. I even let that ride until one day a Flash animation popped up in one of them. I was severely annoyed and wrote the editor of the web site in question. He basically rebuffed my concern and said that it was OK because those ads made more money.

    Oh really? (heh...I once donated money to that site!)

    And that, folks, was the day I finally installed AdBlockPlus.

    (When one of your "daily driver" computers is an NCR P4 clocked at 1.5GHz (shut up, it works and it's paid for) you tend not to care so much about what makes the webmaster a lot of money, as not overwhelming your machine is more important.)

    I was already working toward getting very tired of all the needless "cognitive toxins" that have become a part of the web browsing experience and that kind of a response just finished it off.

    Aaaaanyway...I'm not the biggest fan of Safari but I would hope that other browser makers take note and include something similar. And yes, it runs fine on the previously mentioned hardware...much better than it does on a vastly more powerful Dell Dimension 8300.

    1. Tim Almond

      Compromise on Ads

      "No, what really just tore it all up for me were those pesky ads that would double-underline certain words in text and pop something up. I even let that ride until one day a Flash animation popped up in one of them. I was severely annoyed and wrote the editor of the web site in question. He basically rebuffed my concern and said that it was OK because those ads made more money."

      The problem is that if reader takes off, that's what you'll get more of. Not a sensible banner and reasonable sidebars from Google Ads, but embedded ads that beat reader (or sites will just find a way to spoof reader into thinking that it's not something to read.

  7. SteveK

    Here be aardvarks

    I use the aardvark plugin on firefox to do similar things. Doesn't just have the one-click thing that this offers, but it lets me click to isolate (or remove) a particular block on the page (amongst other web developmenty things).

    I mainly use that when I want to print content without wasting stacks of paper, ending up with a narrow column of content on the printed page, surrounded by navigation bars and blank spaces where ads would have been. Instead I get the relevant article nicely filling the A4 page...

    Will have to upgrade Safari though and give this a try too.

  8. IR

    Paywalls approach

    I wondered what the deal was with the iPad supposedly saving news organisations and the owners being relatively okay with it. Now it seems that the idea is to completely kill off ad-supported news sites and making them have a paywall in order to get any money for when you view their site.

    I'm more surprised that no one has done a Firefox extension for this before now.

    1. LaeMing

      The idea is... ensure that the only way they can get a revenue stream is via the iPad's own advertising streams.

  9. slack

    cognitive toxins

    would be a great band name

    1. The Unexpected Bill

      Wish I could take credit for it!

      "Cognitive toxins" is a phrase I picked up from somewhere along my travels on the web. It seemed especially fitting to use it here for some reason...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Very good feature

    As much as I dislike my Mac for doing any serious work, this one gets my stamp of approval. Funny enough, this is the first site i tried it on.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I can't see how any T&Cs are affected by this because it's a local rendering issue. It's not as if the page is being rebublished or anything like that. It's a bit like saying adblockers violate T&Cs - all you are doing is NOT downloading the advert - you can't stipulate that you MUST download it!

  12. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Kicking Google in the family jewels?

    Is this the latest move in the Apple vs Google war, maybe? Google depends on Web ad revenue, so if Steve gives users an option to remove all Google's money-making ads the minute a page has loaded, how big a dent will he put in Google's profits? Especially as most ad-blockers are not installed by default, you actually need to know a bit technically to find and turn them on, whereas Apple have just given users a nice, big, one-click buton solution (i.e., the average luser will be able to use Reader whilst not even knowing ad-blockers exist). Heck, most users don't even know how to block pop-ups in Firefox! So what if M$ and Mozilla follow suit and add ad-removal buttons as standard, how much ad revenue would Google stand to lose.....?

  13. Ben 4
    Thumb Down

    Let's get back to DOS!

    Fabulous, let's get rid of all those nice graphics, the fun interaction, all those WEB2.0 features, the jQuery etc... Yep, we've spent years making the web capable of some amazing things but absolutely, let's go back to the old days. Why stop here? Why no go back to the lovely green glowing text on a black background?

    1. vincent himpe

      YAY !

      the good old days of ASCII - Art ! when real programmers wore beards and suspenders and could toggle in the bootloader on the switches from memory.

    2. The Unexpected Bill

      Oh, so you have used Lynx!

      Everything has its time and place. I could be weird, but I sometimes *enjoy* the austerity of a text console and the promptness of a command line.

      Mine's the one with a copy of Lynx on CD in the pocket...

    3. Renato

      Not DOS, but unix!

      At least a green text on black screen won't chew my battery off. And if you spent years making the web capable of eating CPU cycles and RAM just to do something "funny" which could be simplified and optimised you should have an wrist slap at least.

      What is the amazing thing on the web you say? What all the fuss about those rich internet applications is? If you want to make a user interface with ease, you should have gone for at least XUL, which _is_ a user interface markup language. HTML is a markup language created for formatting *text* and displaying images. JavaScript was introduced later for doing simple things.

      As a simple test, I have created a Word document on Office Live, typed some words cursing RIA and as I typed, it ate 100% CPU and reached 88MB RAM usage, on MSIE 8. Then I opened Word 2010 Beta: max 8% CPU and 20MB RAM usage while monkey typing. This on Windows 7.

      Another test: Outlook 2010 Beta eats ~50MB to display inbox+email, while a single message on Gmail needs 95MB, on IE 8 and a little less on Firefox with AdBlock. Apple OS X's Mail uses 61MB, while Gmail on Safari uses 130MB. I won't test it on Firefox/OSX because I have lots of plugins installed. Oh, and I can also read my mail when I'm without internet connection.

      And I leave a question: how those cloud/RIA applications would do any better than any native application on netbooks/internet tablets/smartphones if they are such resource hogs?

  14. David Webb


    It's not actually removing the adverts, it has to load up the page (with adverts) and then you click the button to show just the text, you are still downloading the adverts and the entire webpage.

    It'll make it's way into the iWhatever though as a nifty "function" but, odds are when you press the button it'll display the text AND an advert supplied by Apple, that'll be the next "feature" they add.

  15. Maty

    I see a problem here

    If this catches on, then content providers are going to rebuild their pages in such a way that - for example - the javascript that shows the ads also shows the text. I can think of several ways to build a web page that will turn it blank white if certain features are blocked.

    So if enough people start using features like this, content providers are going to rebuild their websites in a more complex manner that will bollox other features on people's browsers.

    Of course they could start building websites where the advertisements are interesting and relevant, and displayed unobtrusively enough that people wouldn't bother with the Reader feature in the first place ... but nah, they'll bollox their sites.

    1. The Unexpected Bill

      After so much, they'll leave...

      You can only bounce your web viewers around so much before they'll just leave and find what they want (or as close as they can get) somewhere else.

      Technically-adept types who know how to implement things to make the web work for them will be the first, and then word will slowly get around until the average web browsing member of the public knows...maybe not why or even what the problem is, just that someone they know and trust said there was a problem and not to visit said site any more.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: I see a problem here

      That's only a problem if the Reader engine merely analyses the page source. I believe it does much more than this: I think it works on the generated output of the page render (recall that this is not necessarily an application-level enhancement to Safari, but to the WebKit framework itself).


  16. Anonymous Coward


    ...and confused. Usually any story about Apple on the Reg is full of commenttards whining about how bad/Evil/sinister Apple is and how lovely/trustworthy/great Google/Microsoft/Adobe is in comparison. And here I was thinking my day couldn't get any weirder.

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Jobs Horns

      Title goes here

      I've already done two posts on another story taking the p**s out of Apple and Steve, that's why!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice enough, but not as important as

    the return of the blue progress bar in the address field! Yes! At last!

    1. Player_16


      ...I didn't notice that! Wicked!

  18. Ron Luther
    Thumb Up

    Bet it doesn't work ...

    .. on apps that use the new ad model!

    Which would, of course, mean that any advertiser wishing to reach an audience using St. Steve devices would have to pay St. Steve for that privilege. Wooot. Nice 'feature'.

  19. Marlan

    The truly extra advantage is in printing ...

    If you notice there is a fade-in menu at the bottom of the reader page and a print button - this means you can print out articles now without all the web page gubbins getting in the way - I shall be using this all the time now!

  20. Kay Burley ate my hamster
    Thumb Up

    El Reg ads

    Great, I won't have to ever see that IBM multicoloured multi-mouse-pointer brain-ache inducing ad on El Reg ever again, or any of its friends. :D

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Hallucinate title here

      You don't have to see them now...can you say "AdBlock Plus"? I knew you could....

  21. Joshua Murray

    I like it!

    I just updated my Mac to Safari 5 to try this out....

    Took a minute to work out that the button is in the URL field, not on the toolbar (d'oh!).

    I really like this feature, it makes reading articles so much easier on the eyes and I think I'll make use of it a lot.

    Thanks for pointing it out!

  22. A J Stiles

    So it's like eLinks or w3m, then?

    Console-based web browsers have been doing this since forever.

    By the way, if there are adverts on The Register, my DNS must be misreporting where they are served from.

  23. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    You trying to blind me?

    If I can't change the foreground and background colors to suit me (and given the recent spate of Jobsian control freakery, I'm sure I can't, because these would be **my** choices, not **his**), then I'm not interested.

  24. Petrea Mitchell
    Paris Hilton

    So how do they reconcile...

    ...their ad-selling program with their ad-wiping capabilities? Or does Apple only mean to make the Web readable, and not its wonderful, magical, etc. newpaper-reading app? Or if you buy ads from Apple, does that mean your ad is deemed non-annoying by Safari? And if you can read free Web news (or even Web news behind a paywall) with all the annoying stuff removed, aren't even the fanbois going to decide the Web browser offers a superior reading experience?

  25. NightFox

    Don't Forget...

    In people's rush to install ad blockers and welcome features like this, there's the danger that we'll lose sight of the fact that advertising pays for much of the Internet. Many web sites are reliant on click-throughs and advertising revenues for funding, hide or obscure those adverts and in the short term the site gets less click-throughs, then in the longer term the ad providers aren't going to pay as much due to the diminished effectiveness of their ads.

    It's pretty much like what's happening to commercial TV these days, the ads have become much less effective due to the shift in the way we watch TV, with many people now recording TV and fast forwarding through the adverts. Companies are no longer investing the same amounts of money into TV advertising and commercial TV is suffering as a consequence.

    Yes, I have little interest in the adverts on a web page, but find it quite easy to ignore most except perhaps the pop-ups. It's a price I'm willing to pay for the "free" Internet. However, banish those ads and I think the Internet will be a poorer place for it

    1. Joel 1

      Killing the goose....

      I'm afraid that the sites have only themselves to blame. It was actually El Reg which drove me to first install AdBlock Plus with the annoying ads they had which get out of their box and obscure the content - there was some annoying BT woman on a chair who pushed back across the whole page (and a dragon at some point).

      This was taking advertising beyond a joke, and so although these might have paid more, it has hurt the bottom line because it irritated me enough to take action. I'm actually pretty light on blocking ads, only blocking the really irritating ones, as I realise that advertising pays for the site. However, many people driven to blocking ads may decide to go the whole hog.

      All the browsers now have an option to block pop-up windows. That was a reaction to a similar bout of advertising overkill. It is a fine line for advertisers - if they get too in your face, they get a punch in the chops.

      Advertising used to be based on persuasion (or seduction)....

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Don't Forget.....

      True, to many good sites depend on ad revenue, but if you are a regular user of such sites then you will leave the ads on (you may even click a few just to send some revenue). But, if that same site starts hiding the info you need behind dozens of po-ups or pop-unders, flash ads or embedded ads, then you may get p*ssed-off visitors switching on the ad blockers. So, strike a balance, make sure you have each page carry an embedded message such as "This webiste is funded by advertising, if you value our service then please visit our sponsors by clicking on the ads", should balance out nicely.

      On the flip side, you can do what some webscum did to my brother's company - take his money for a click-through ad on their website, then set a farm of zombies that regularly imitated clicking on the ad so they could take his money. He couldn't understand why his ad costs were going up but he wasn't getting any more business, until I pointed out his hit-rate was far too constant, even at weekends! The hoster pretended the zombies were nothing to do with them.....

    3. Geoff Campbell

      Yes, they get paid on click-throughs....

      ....which is rather the point. Surely anyone who is likely to install an ad blocker would never click on an ad anyway? So, no lost revenue.


  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Michael Brown

    Pulse RSS reader back in AppStore

    "Yesterday the Pulse RSS reader was booted from the App Store after the New York Times claimed violation of its terms of service."

    It was also put back again pretty quickly (yesterday) and is currently available.

  28. Z 1
    Jobs Horns

    Eh? This isn't new?

    Been doing this in Opera since, well, forever.

  29. Joe Cooper

    Love it


  30. CC

    Nice it it quit crashing

    Would be a decent browser if it would quit crashing.


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