February 14, 2017

Distill Google Chrome Extension To Browse The Web Safely

Table of Contents:

Distill is a Google Chrome extension that creates a better internet experience by helping people browse the web safely and block unwanted images and text from their view. For example, this Valentine’s day, you might want to block all images related to romance, so you’re not constantly bombarded with reminders that you’re forever alone. Just sayin’.


We’ve all been there – innocently browsing the wild interwebs when suddenly we see an image we just can’t unsee (never google “trypophobia” … trust us on this one). Don’t you wish there was a better way to browse the internet without all the unpleasant surprises? Distill solves that problem.




Distill is a quick, live-censoring Google Chrome extension that helps users browse the web safely. You can select categories of things you despise (like spiders) or things that make you upset (like blood and gore) and Distill automatically obscures those images in your browser. And, with the power of Clarifai’s Custom Trainingtechnology, you can easily train a model to recognize new concepts (like your ex’s dumb face … Happy Valentine’s Day!) and use Distill to block them from your virtual life. Handy, huh?


Besides being a fun and useful app for those of us who prefer not to be ambushed by unpleasantness, Distill also helps make the internet a better place for people recovering from real trauma and diseases, like drug addiction, alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual assault, etc. Visit Distill’s GitHub repo to learn more!


We caught up with Jack Mask, one of the creators of Distill, to talk about how his team built the Distill app.

Clarifai: What inspired your idea for Distill?

Jack: After an intense bout of mild-melting brainstorming,  our team got distracted and ended up browsing the internet. Upon doing this, one member of our team came across some not-so-pleasant content on the web. “I wish there were a way to not see this nonsense!” they exclaimed. This was when we knew we needed to “distill” the web-browsing experience. We also took into account those using the product for more serious reasons, like veterans recovering from PTSD being triggered by certain images.

How did you build the app?

We used javascript almost exclusively used for our program’s back-end, while HTML/CSS is used for the front-end splash page. We used Clarifai’s API for our image-tagging. A challenge we faced was the limit on how many requests could be sent to Clarifai at once on the free hackathon plan, as well as how often they could be sent. To counter this, we sent small-batch requests to Clarifai so that the images were processed from the top of the page down, often being finished by the time the user scrolled that far down.

What was the best part about working with the Clarifai API?

The Clarifai API was a blast to use.  Exploring the patterns of tags it would give was an exciting, often humorous experience. It was challenging at times trying to experiment with its machine learning capabilities. The Clarifai API is quite literally the best thing ever.

Thanks for sharing, Jack!

To learn more, check out our documentation and sign-up for a free Clarifai account to start using our API – all it takes is three lines of code to get up and running! We’re super excited to share all the cool things built by our developer community, so don’t forget to tweet @Clarifai to show us your apps.

And give Jack and the Distill team some props in the comments below. Until next time!