Google is confident in the Chrome browser’s ‘Reader Mode’ and its ability to simplify web pages for users, by stripping out almost everything but text for the sake of simplicity. Apparently, it’s so confident, that it’s probably going to be renaming it ‘Read Anything’ instead.
First discovered by Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks, a new Chromium commit reveals that in addition to the name change, Google is moving “Read Anything” to the shiny, new Side Panel. Currently, it resides in the toolbar or Omnibox.
This CL adds a stubbed toolbar to the Read Anything feature (previously referred to as Reader Mode). We add a simple button and a label in preparation for future UI work. This CL is mostly structural and the view is not considered finalized. Future CLs will implement the view once the UI is approved.Chromium Gerrit
Next, “Read Anything” could possibly gain an offline reading feature, allowing you to effectively save things for later and recall them without Wi-Fi or cellular data. With that being said, saving things “for later” or “offline” makes me think that Google may combine Reader Mode or rather “Read Anything” with the currently implemented “Reading list”, especially as they will now both reside in the Side Panel.
Lastly, a “User note” feature could grace the Side Panel in the near future as well. In the same Read Anything commit, private user notes are given mention as a Side Panel feature. Anyone familiar with Microsoft Chromium Edge will not find this surprising as the competing browser is based on the same source code as Chrome and has had side panel ‘sticky notes’ for a long time as an extension of its “Collections” functionality.
I’m going to be honest here and say that aside from non-synced profiles in Chrome being a factor, Google may have missed an opportunity to integrate Google Keep into the browser’s main Side Panel instead of raw notes. I would love this, and I hope that in the future this becomes possible, but it’s more likely that these private notes will be mixed in with other Side Panel content and be more free-flowing in the same way that those in Edge are, so it’s probably not going to happen.