‘Highlighter for the Internet’ Helps You Share What’s Important

‘Highlighter for the Internet’ Helps You Share What’s Important
technology brings the art of marginalia to the web

Rachel Pincus
  • 2 march 2015

In a day, you’ll scroll by hundreds of links to articles on social media, and though they come highly recommended by your friends, you could never possibly have time to read them in full. There just isn’t enough time in the day. But, what if you could see what paragraphs or quotations in that monster thinkpiece were your friend’s favorite?, a web app/bookmarklet developed in Belgium, operates on the principle that “a true sharer shares the essence, not a teasing title and a TinyURL to a humongous article.” allows for social highlighting, letting you grab excerpts and even use them as the short-form preview when you share an article on Facebook. The app can also scrape the page of the extraneous clutter that can make taking notes in the margins difficult.

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When you share the article using the app, users will get a clean version of the article with your highlights and notes visible. The app functions by putting a layer over the existing page, allowing publishers to still get their ad views.

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According to founder Johan Van Hove, there’s a lot going on under the app’s facile surfaces. “There are many challenges when scraping text content from pages. One of the biggest challenges is the processing time. The time to analyze the existing source page figure out what to extract and present it this in a good way,” he said in an email to us.

“You can play around and test things out, but ultimately you have to find the balance between speed and quality. Furthermore, there is a big unknown factor. How is the source page compiled? For most sites there is absolutely no problem, but still in 2015 you encounter (although a great minority) sites that are outdated in terms of how modern websites are constructed.”


And the developers are working on a mobile version as well, though as Hove lamented in his email, it’s difficult at this point to even copy and paste on most mobile OSes.

The app is currently available by invitation only at—time to give it a whirl and send your request.


+Johan Van Hove

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