Great Summary Summarizes Web Pages

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 20, 2008
Updated • Dec 11, 2012
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Don't have the time to read a long article on a web page? Then it might be worth to give the Great Summary service a try. The service extracts the most important sentences of a web page and provides them as a summary to the user.

It is pretty obvious that a computerized summary won't be as good as one from a human. It might still be worth a try if you lack the time or will to read a longish article. A good test text was the CNN article "Five ways to keep Alzheimer's away". The expectation for that article was to be presented with a list of the five ways that can keep Alzheimer's away.

It is up to the user to pick the amount of sentences that should be returned. It can range from 1 to 100. Trying to squeeze a long article in 1 or 2 sentences might fail more often that it would succeed. Selecting 5 or 10 sentences did not reveal the desired information of the Alzheimer article. It did list some of the recommendations but not all of them.

Even more disturbing was the inclusion of part of the footer links which clearly had nothing to do with the article. The problem here is obviously that the service is analyzing the whole page and not only the part that contains the article. Areas like the header, footer or menu should be exempt from the analysis to avoid the confusion.

A Firefox add-on is available for Great Summary as well. It adds an entry to the right-click menu which sends the page to Great Summary.

The service could be very interesting if the developers would improve the detection rate of the important parts of a web page further. They should also lay more emphasize on titles and lists because these usually contain important information.

Still: There is not much to lose here. If you are desperately needing a summary you might want to give Great Summary a try.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. WickedGirl said on January 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Looks like this is now defunct (at least the web site is).

  2. M said on March 13, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I think does better summaries than GreatSummary.

    GreatSummary doesn’t work with other languages than English, and besides, VXite won’t alter the page’s visual design.

  3. Dotan Cohen said on November 22, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I tried the service with a few different websites. It seems to return a random sentence, certainly not the “most important” sentence by any measurement that a human would use.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.