Nobody likes to be bombarded with ads and general clutter when reading articles on the web, which is where reader mode comes in. For years we thought that Google, an advertising company, wouldn't ever sign off on such a feature for its Chrome browser on desktop. Thankfully, it looks like we underestimated Google since it's now testing a reader mode in Chrome Canary.

Hidden behind a flag in the least stable/most experimental of the Chrome builds (including Chrome Canary 75 for Mac and Windows and Chrome OS 75, as far as we can tell), reader mode triggered with a "Distill Page" option in the overflow (three-dot) menu.

You must first toggle the Enable Reader Mode () flag, the description for which reads as follows:

Allows viewing of simplified web pages by selecting 'Customize and control Chrome'>'Distill page' – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

As you can see in the example below, the result is a page with only the headline, main text, and images from the article. It's not quite perfect, in that it uses our author avatar as the main image and misses off the one we've chosen, but it otherwise offers a minimalistic, distraction-free view to enhance the reading experience.


It's been possible to get this running even in the stable version of Chrome with some workarounds, but it looks like we'll soon have a native option that's as easy to use as the third-party Chrome extensions that already exist. A similar reader mode has been available in Chrome on Android for some time, in the form of an accessibility option. You can enable that with the Reader Mode Triggering flag (#reader-mode-heuristics) and choose which articles will trigger the feature. A "Show simplified view" button will then pop up at the bottom of the page for relevant articles (see below).