PicLens–Firefox Extension is a Photo Library Revolution

PicLens The Internet’s collective library of images is vast. A quick Google image search can quickly locate a picture of pretty much anyone or anything. Flickr is not only a great site for hosting your own photo albums, but the ability to search and browse other people’s photos is a pastime in itself. The problem is that in 2008, even with broadband, and 2 gHz processors and gigabytes of RAM, web surfing is still something of a click-load-scroll and click again affair.

PicLens is a Firefox extension for Windows or Mac that takes the flat, utilitarian view of a Google or Flickr image result and turns it into a 3D wall of images. You can zoom in or out, and scroll down the wall with speed that literally might make you dizzy (my wife had to ask me to stop to prevent her vertigo from kicking in). Read on for more details.

iPod users will be reminded of Coverflow–the recent Apple iTunes update that allows you to browse your iPod songs as a 3-D stream of album covers flipping across your screen. Coverflow was cool enough for Apple to include it as part of OS X 10.5 as part of the file browser, but it’s important to note that Coverflow on the iPod is basically just eye-candy. It doesn’t really help you find an album or song any faster, it just makes browsing your own collection more fun, cool, and interesting.

But PicLens is different, because you’re not browsing songs on your iPod, you use it to view pictures. It changes the taks of sifting through image results on Google or Flickr from click and load to almost the same experience as picking up a coffee table book and flipping through the pages as fast or as slow as you want, with the ability to poke your finger on a page and stop, then keep flipping forward or back.

PicLens works with Google Image Search, Flickr, Photobucket, Smugmug, Yahoo, and Deviant Art. Once installed, images results from these sites that are PicLens-enabled show a small “play” triangle when you mouse over the image preview. Clicking launches the interface; you can use your mouse, trackpad, or arrow keys to move around in the “wall of pics” as it loads. Clicking on an individual pic gives you a quick enlarge, and clicking again fills the screen. You can do new searches from within PiclLens on any of the supported engines, and clicking an arrow in the top left takes you the web page search result of the highlighted pic.

PicLens is free. Go download it already.

3 comments

  1. Hey Alex and readers!

    Thanks for blogging about PicLens – we’re so glad you decided to try it out 🙂

    It’s hard to really capture the awesomeness of PicLens in words (after all…ONE picture is worth a thousand, and we have a whole wall of them!), so here are links to two videos demos that give you an idea of what all the PicLens excitement is about. The first is by our team and the other by a PicLens fan.

    http://www.piclens.com/demo
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=uRG40tqC8dM

    Thanks, again.
    Meg & The Cooliris Team

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