Kindle users have another option for viewing Web content without ads.
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Amazon on Tuesday waded further into the ad-blocking business with a Chrome extension that sends Web content to Kindle devices.
"Send to Kindle for Google Chrome" adds a Send to Kindle button to users' Google Chrome browsers, explains Amazon community manager Kevin Goddard in a Kindle forum post. The button sends text published on the Web to the user's Kindle device and any Kindle reading apps.
"'Send to Kindle for Google Chrome' makes Web articles easier to read--we send just the content you want and not the distractions," said Goddard.
The word "distractions" in this case means ads. Amazon states this more explicitly in its Web-based settings menu for the extension. "We remove advertising and other extraneous content that distracts from the reading experience from a webpage before delivering it to your Kindle," the company explains in a menu option that allows users to eliminate a warning presented when the complexity of the ad removal surgery leaves Amazon "uncertain about creating a good representation of the webpage."
Such ad culling isn't new: Amazon released a version of its Send to Kindle software for OS X in April and for Windows last year. The company also provides a Send to Kindle via email option.
Nor is ad removal exclusive to Amazon: Other services that copy Web content for reading on mobile devices such as Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability also remove ads, though they tend to focus on the result--making Web content easier to read--without dwelling on the problem of intrusive, distracting ads.
However, Amazon's disdain for ads in a Google Chrome extension stands out because of Amazon's competition with Google in the Android device arena and because Google is so dependent on ad revenue. Amazon's ad stripping puts it in the company of Apple and Microsoft, both of which have been releasing software that reduces the effectiveness of Google ads or blocks them altogether.
Apple touts its "clean, uncluttered, ad-free Safari Reader" and has opted for privacy-friendly, ad-hostile default browser settings. Microsoft similarly plans to enable "Do Not Track" for Internet Explorer 10 by default as a way to enhance privacy, at the expense of ad targeting and analytics. Ads, it seems, have become a dirty word, at least for Google's rivals.
Send to Kindle is free over Wi-Fi. If enabled via the settings menu to transmit over Whispernet, Amazon's proprietary 3G content distribution network, fees ranging from $0.15 per megabyte inside the US to $0.99 per megabyte outside the US might apply.
According Goddard, Send to Kindle support for Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari is coming soon.
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