PicLens Makes Browsing Media Beautiful

May 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

I got a link from the nVidia newsletter saying that they had released some new app called piclens, which according to the newsletter “transforms your browser into an immersive, full-screen 3D experience for photos and videos on the web”. I didn’t get it at first, but now that I’ve used it, I don’t know how I lived without it.

Piclens is an awesome piece of software by Cool Iris, that comes in the form of a plugin for the three most popular browsers, being Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. It adds unique functionality to media-rich sites like Youtube and Flickr: the ability to browse search results or photos in a page in a “3d wall” format which not makes browsing pages and pages of content much easier, but also very enjoyable. All you have to do is press the Piclens button on your browser’s UI when you have reached the target page (Youtube search result page, Flickr set’s page), and you can browse around the thumbnails and select which pictures you want to close up on.

What I really like about this is the ability to see the thumbnails before loading the entire thing, which greatly speeds up search. In Flickr, I’ve search for a pretty common tag, say cats, and loaded what looked like hundreds and hundreds of pictures without a glitch, all the thumbnails loaded very fast, and not once did I have to click a “Next Page” link. When I found an interesting pic, I’d only have to click on it and zoom on it with the scroll wheel to see it in ALMOST full screen. At any time, you can visit the selected picture’s page with a link just below.

So far, only a couple of sites are officially supported, but you can implement PicLens to your site with their developer howtos, or make your own slideshows with the PicLens Publisher, which you can then add to your site with either XML or regular HTML. It makes for kick ass slideshows. They even have a WordPress plugin which looks pretty kick ass, but dued to the fact that I rarely blog with pictures (I should do it more often), it doesn’t exactly yield extraordinary results.

In any case, browsing in tons of new web media just got fun.

Check out Piclens here.

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