Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Alternatives for the Clearly Chrome extension

Bad news: Clearly is going away.

For years one of my favorite Chrome extensions has been Clearly from Evernote. It is a simple extension that does an awesome thing. When you click the Clearly extension it cleans up the web page you are reading by removing ads, comments, backgrounds, and all other distracting images and elements, leaving only the core content of the page in an easy to read format. The extension is especially useful for students to help them focus on what they are reading when websites can be full of so many distractions.

Unfortunately it is being discontinued.

Evernote announced on their blog that as of January 22, 2016 they will no longer be supporting or offering Clearly. If you already have it installed, it may still keep working for now, but without any more updates it may stop functioning overtime. If you do not have it installed, it will no longer be available in the Chrome Web Store. For more details see Evernote's blog post.

So what alternatives are the for Clearly? Thankfully there are other Chrome extensions that perform a similar function. Below we will take a look at four options to consider for you and your students. Watch the video to see each one demonstrated and see the rest of the post below for a quick overview of each with links to install them.




Readability

Chrome Web Store link

This extension is by far the closest experience to Clearly. Simply visit a website, click the Readability extension, and choose “Read Now”. The page will now reload in a clean and clear format with all distracting elements removed. Just like Clearly you can also click the “Aa” format button to change the font face, font size, font color, image size, and background color. When done just click the original website link at the top of the page to switch back to the normal web site.


BeeLine Reader

Chrome Web Store link

This extension is very much like Clearly in that it cleans up a webpage to just show the core text and images, but it then goes two steps further. BeeLine Reader replaces the font with the OpenDyslexic font which makes the bottoms of characters more bold, and the tops of characters thinner, to help keep the text oriented properly. Secondly the extension applies a color gradient to the text which gradually changes from blue to red and back again, helping readers to stay on the correct line when moving down the page. Both of these extra features can be turned off in the settings if they are not needed.


EasyReader

Chrome Web Store link

This extension also cleans up web pages, but only the part of the web page that you choose. When you activate the extension, you will see boxes on the page indicating different sections. Simply click on the section you want to read and a pop-out window will appear with that portion of the page cleaned up for easy reading. The pictures do get squished a bit, which may create a problem depending on the content, but otherwise EasyReader does an acceptable job.


Read Mode

Chrome Web Store link

This final extension is the least successful of the bunch, but is still worth considering. To use Read Mode, click on the extension (which shows up the the URL bar instead of to the right with the other extensions). The page will now reload in an easier to read format. It does remove the background, and it does simplify the font, but it does not remove other elements from the page. All the possibly distracting menus and comments and ads still show up, but are simply moved to the top and bottom of the page


Between these four extensions hopefully you will find one or more that are a perfect fit for your students, or even for yourself. If you never used Clearly in the past, then now is a great time to try out one of these extensions to help your student focus on their content.

If you found this information to be valuable, you may also want to check out my recorded webinar, help guide, and slideshow on “Google Tools for Special Needs” where we explore many other extensions that can assist any struggling learner. You can access the resources here:



If you know of other alternatives, please share them in the comments below.



20 comments:

  1. Announcify is an extension that will clean up the page and it will also read the page to the student. It blurs the content that is not being read to help the student concentrate on one paragraph at a time. I just learned about it yesterday and wanted to share:)

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  2. Purify cleans up the page as well.

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  3. If users have Evernote accounts, the Evernote extension can bring the functionality of Clearly by choosing the "Simplified Article" when saving an article. I usually select simplified article but just don't choose to save it if I just want to read it "clutter free."

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  4. Thanks Marvin for the tip. Meanwhile, am soooo sorry to see Clearly go away.
    Thanks Eric for providing us with alternatives.

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  5. Does anyone know of an extension that will "rewrite" a webpage based on a student's lexile?

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    1. 'Rewordify' will take a webpage or any copied/pasted text and replace difficult words with simpler ones. It will also allow you to build vocabulary skills for the "difficult words". Check it out - my reading specialists love it!

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  6. I just had to deal with finding an alternative on my Windows laptop... ended up with iReader. Simple text with hypertext/links and when printing a page, it adds on the link, goo.gl shortened link, and QR code at the end. Still enjoying Clearly on my Mac... for now... :-)

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    1. there is no chrome extension called "iReader" :-(

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    2. A direct search in Store does not show it, so here's the direct link:
      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ireader/ppelffpjgkifjfgnbaaldcehkpajlmbc?hl=en

      But the reviews show that it’s working for some people, not others -> cr*p!
      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ireader/ppelffpjgkifjfgnbaaldcehkpajlmbc/reviews

      I was enjoying iReader’s function as recently as last week, but in trying today, it’s not working -> cr*p!

      Back to Clearly since I had it installed already and am a paid Evernote user (not sure that last part matters), but even that doesn’t work on some sites. Perhaps “news” sites with lots of ads have a way now around these crowd favorites??? Sad day…. more ads/slowness/waste…

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    3. Thank you very much, Carrie! Unfortunately, iReader doesn't work for me either, tried in several pages and never appeared the icon on the address bar nor pressing the hotkey did anything :-(

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  7. Readability does nothing (on pages that clearly cleaned perfectly. Maybe it does work sometimes in some pages. None I tried did anything except on one, and I tried again later and did not work, why???) -> crap
    Beeline costs money and does not work well and it is too complicated -> crap
    Easyreader it is not automatic -> crap
    read mode keeps all that annoying things that kleep you from actually reading -> utter crap

    So, none of the suggestions is actually worth even considering as a clearly replacement. Let's hope somebody corrects de situation

    Evernote app has the capability but do not use it, it insists on "saving" the page, put an annoying and useless menu and when you close the menu, all the crap returns to the page. A pity.

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  8. I expect Evernote received an offer they simply couldn't refuse to stop supporting an app that get's rid of ads. Well done guys

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  9. Muchas Gracias por la información, en español no hay casi nada, y tu blog me sirvió de mucho :)
    Thank you for the information, in Spanish there is almost nothing, and your blog served me well :)

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  10. Evernote Clearly gets removed from Firefox automatically now,
    This is because the certificate is outdated and the newer versions of Firefox don't allow outdated addons to run.
    Evernote Clearly showed if a page was allready clipped into Evernote, the replacement (called web_clipper) lacks this functionality.

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  11. Last night, I noticed that Clearly is no longer listed in my extensions. Super bummed. Glad to find this article and I thought your review was great but, sadly - found BeeLine wouldn't open some sites and ReadMode doesn't offer a sans-serif change (imo, preferred for screen reading).

    Readability was initially as good as remembered but I'm having some site-specific issues. On one site the side customizatio panel disappears quickly and I can't figure how to reveal it again and I'm having an issue with showing content on my main story site. For some reason, it's giving an LJ-style mature content warning even though it doesn't appear when viewing regularly. I'll have to investigate.

    Readability is probably best alternative however; it's always been pretty good. Thanks. - E

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  12. removal or Clearly is the reason i no longer support Evernote. hopefully it is heading towards its own extinction.

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  13. I have been using Clearly for ever, primarily to copy and paste clean articles into emails, but this morning the I see that the icon disappeared from my toolbar in Opera. I tried the Chrome "Read Mode" and it seems to work for that function, although it is not as smooth.. And, oddly,in that mode the NYTimes always presents a notice that it no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. I have to delete that from articles I want to share.

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  14. I maintain an open-source Chrome reading extension called Just Read that has a lot of features of no login: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/just-read/dgmanlpmmkibanfdgjocnabmcaclkmod

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  15. I maintain an open-source Chrome reading extension called Just Read that has a lot of features of no login: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/just-read/dgmanlpmmkibanfdgjocnabmcaclkmod

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