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Lesson 22: Blessed Silence

November 28, 2011

I’d been thinking about writing a blog post discussing how I really like applications like Instapaper and Reeder that leverage technologies like Readability to provide clean, restful, quiet reading interfaces to content drawn from the web. You get all the content, none of the annoying ads that frequently surround it, in an interface optimized to the device you’re reading on. I actually prefer reading a lot of sites through Reeder now rather than visiting the actual sites because the actual sites are starting to actively make it hard to read.

But then Brent Simmons made the point for me with posts on The Pummeling Pages and The Readable Future (Rian van der Merwe makes a similar point with nice example images in his post Please let this not be the future of reading on the web). Allowing me to say: yeah, what they said!

I can’t resist taking on one last point, though. Silicon Valley currently seems to be in love with making money on applications and services through advertising. That isn’t exactly a new observation:

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” he says. “That sucks.” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

But the growth of embedded functionality in popular applications to strip out ads and other noise suggests that we’re starting to cross a threshold for what users find acceptable. If so, the question is whether we’ll see an arms race between those trying to use and those trying to block advertising or innovation from content providers exploring new revenue models. I’m hoping for the latter, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

From → Musings, Technology

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