We share two amazing Firefox/IE plugins that help improve your web browsing experience by prefetching links and showing a live preview or webpages without having to click on the hyperlinks or search results. You'll love them.
Typically, web users surf the internet in the following way:
1. They will either type a query in search engines or open a previously bookmarked webpage or directly type the URL like cnn.com in the address bar.
2. On the search results page, they'll click the links of the top few results to load those webpages in separate tabs [some will return 404, some are Made-for-Adsense, some are just duplicate content]
3. Then they'll visit each of the browser tabs to glance at the webpage and will either close it or let it remain open in their web browser depending on how useful or meaningful that webpage is for them.
So just to reach that final interesting website, you made so many clicks, opened and closed so many browser tabs or had to hit the browsers' back/forward button a number of times.
Want to switch to a more producting web surfing workflow ? Get Cooliris, a free add-on for Firefox, IE and Safari browsers that enables you to hover your mouse over any link and preview the linked webpage in a popup window.
You don't have to click the link or leave the current site to see the target webpage. And if you think that webpage in the preview window is useful, you can even open it in your main browser as a separate tab.
There's another big advantage for Google or Yahoo users - when you perform a websearch and then hover your mouse over the Images/Video/Local/Maps, etc tabs, you can see the results page without actually visiting them. So for a particular term, if no good images are retrieved, just type another query on the web search tab and then again visualize the results by hovering over the Image tab.
Imagine how much time this will save while you are hunting the monster.com job listings or searching for items on eBay. You can see the details about the auctions or the jobs in preview panes without having to open hundreds on new browser tabs.
It may be time to delete the Back and Forward Button of your Web Browser.
There's a similar webpage preview extension called Browster which was released even before Cooliris. I wanted to try Browster as well but their universal Firefox-cum-IE installer started downloading some Java file (jre.cab) without confirmation and so I had to abort the process.
Surprisingly, even after cancelling the installation process midway, browster appears to have been installed both in IE and the firefox browser - no idea how that happened ?
What I liked about Browster addon is their preview icon that appears next to the search engine results or any hyperlinks - so the preview window opens only when you hover the mouse over that icon and not otherwise. This is something I miss in Cooliris as it opens the preview pop-up as soon as you take the mouse over any hyperlink.
However, there's no close button in Browster and you have to take your mouse outside the browster window in order to close it which may get irritating at times.
Both the extensions use prefetching to render the browser windows even faster by anticipating what the web user is going to click next. Go, give them a try.
Cool Iris [demo]| Browster [demo] [Thanks Alec Jeong]
The screenshot above shows the DI Frappr map opened in CoolIris window. You can even use this to view webpages in different langauges if they have the languages translation flags like the ones you see on this site.