View the future

Put the "graphic" back in "graphic user interface" with PicLens' sweeping, futuristic, and image-based Web-browsing add-on.

Cooliris blows up your Web-surfing experience into a larger-than-life graphical experience. It takes the images it finds on nearly any Web site, expands them to super-extra-large size, and then lets you surf through them in a classy scaling interface that we think we last saw in the Iron Man movie. Or maybe it was The Dark Knight.

Whatever the inspiration, there's no doubt that the cross-platform and cross-browser Cooliris puts the "graphic" back in "graphic user interface". Installing it places a button on the Toolbar. When you're on a Cooliris-enabled Web site, click the Cooliris button to activate the Cooliris interface. Your screen will go black, and all the images on the site will zoom past you as if on a roller-coaster. They stop soon after, and from there you can surf the site using the subtly-placed search bar at the top of your monitor. Click on an image to enlarge it. If it's a still image, it simply enlarges. If it's a video, it enlarges and starts playing.

Currently, the plug-in only supports a handful of the most popular graphics-intensive site, such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, and a few others. A WordPress plug-in allows those who use that blogging system to create Cooliris functionality, and there's a Webmaster's guide on the Cooliris site for users who host their own sites. We also noticed occasional stability problems on Internet Explorer, but they were intermittent at best. Installing the add-on is worth it just for the sweeping, futuristic way that images stream by when you browse, even though there might not be much practical application at this point.

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