One of the most annoying things about surfing websites on the Internet today is the constant barrage of advertisements that pop up in various formats while you are trying to view the site’s actual content. Luckily, Google Chrome offers a hidden reader mode that allows you to access the plain-text version of a website, without any accompanying ads or pop-ups.
Enabling the Feature
The idea for the feature was borrowed by Google from the existing Firefox browser setup. Instead of having the feature be active by default, Chrome instead requires you to manually turn on the feature via the flags page. Here are the steps to activating Google Chrome’s hidden reader mode:
First, make sure you are running Chrome 75 and above since the feature is not a part of earlier versions of the browser, then perform the following steps:
1. Type chrome://flags in the address page of Chrome and hit Enter. You will be taken to Chrome’s Flags page. This is the section of the browser that carries more experimental features which are not yet deemed stable enough to be made a part of Chrome’s existing lineup of features.
2. Search for the feature titled “Enable Reader mode.”
3. Once you have located the Reader Mode feature, click on the flag next to it to change it from “Default” to “Enabled.”
Alternately, a more direct way of enabling the feature is by going to the Chrome address bar and simply typing chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode and hitting Enter to go that section.
4. Now the settings on your browser have been changed. To allow the changes to take effect, exit your browser and then log on again.
Go to a website that carries the ads and pop-ups you are looking to avoid. Open the overflow menu represented by the three dots at the top-right corner of the page and look for the “Distill” option. Click on it.
You will now be able to view a stripped-down version of the site where the ads have been automatically blocked so you can view the actual content in peace.
If you want to go back to reading the original version of the page, simply hit the back arrow at the top-left corner, and you will be taken back to the original page setup.
Things to Remember
The Hidden Reader feature will have certain effects on your browsing habits that you need to keep in mind before enabling the feature. First, certain sites might not allow you to view their content if Chrome automatically blocks all the ads and pop-up windows featured on their site. Also, since the feature is still in an experimental phase, there is always the possibility that it might begin to glitch or stop working entirely in the middle of a web-surfing session.
The hidden reader mode is a good way to circumvent the insistence of so many websites that you deal with dozens of ads simply to read one article or view a single video. Like all flags, the Hidden Reader feature is still not completely free of bugs, but it functions well enough to use on most types of webpages.
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