The fun browser add-on PicLens has incorporated YouTube and Amazon.com into the short but hopefully soon-to-grow list of supported Web sites. Compatible with Firefox on Windows and Mac, Internet Explorer, and Safari, PicLens recreates your surfing experience with a futuristic graphical display.
As Rafe talked about in February, PicLens highlights the image content of a site and allows you to whip back and forth using mouse gestures instead of conventional static browsing. If you're familiar with how it works with an image site like Flickr, the YouTube interface is identical. The PicLens plug-in will install a grid button on your Toolbar, which you click to activate the PicLens full-screen interface. Click a thumbnail to start playing a video, while the search box lives in the upper right of your screen. As video starts playing, standard YouTube controls appear at the bottom of the video. One potential drawback is that if the quality of the video is low, then the not-quite-full-screen playback will probably appear pixelated.
On Amazon, the experience is slightly different. The main Amazon.com page doesn't support the PicLens button, but if you click on the button anyway it will open up the PicLens UI. From there, change the Web site search to Amazon, type in your search term, and images of whatever item you searched for will zoom past. The Amazon interface responded slower than other, more heavily-image based Web sites like Picasa.
PicLens currently supports YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, MySpace, Fotobucket, deviantART, Google Images, Yahoo Images, and about a half-dozen others. The slideshow mode makes PicLens more accessible for users who are worried about the vertiginous effects of the add-on. There's also a plug-in for WordPress users to add the feature to their site, and instructions for any webmaster to add PicLens support to their self-hosted pages.