Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Finally, someone figured out how to turn off the internet

Screenshot: Facebook without the friends

As much as we all deservedly want affordable and unrestricted access to every available corner of the internet, we can simultaneously agree that there’s just too damn much of it. It seems any attempt to simply check your email can send you spiraling down a wormhole of multiple tabs, regrettably clicked links, and hours of time wasted looking at things you didn’t even know you cared about seeing. Thankfully, as Fast Company reports, there’s a new browser extension that can help quiet things down a bit.

It’s called Nothing On The Internet and it pretty much does what the name suggests. Just click the tiny black box in the corner of your browser and suddenly the clutter-filled page you were just frustratedly trying to enjoy becomes a blank and serene canvas. Text disappears, images become homogenous squares of color, and you’re left thinking, “Maybe I should go outside.”

Screenshot: The A.V. Club sans content

In an interview with Fast Company, the extension’s creator Joseph Ernst said he first got the idea for the plugin while working in an office with slow internet. The experience of sitting and staring at webpages before they were filled with eyefuls of content helped him appreciate what a respite nothingness can be. So, he figured out a way to get nothingness on demand.

Screenshot: Gmail minus the mail

“Once in awhile, [it’s] like a breath of fresh air. It’s a physical demonstration of how transient all this information is,” says Ernst, who previously rendered blank pages from popular websites as part of a conceptual art project before giving users the chance to do it themselves. “When you’re immersed in these feeds, all the info is so urgent, it needs to be read now now now, but at the click of button it’s all not there.”


Download the extension here for Chrome or Safari and give your eyes, and brain, a little break.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.