PicLens, The Most Beautiful Way to Browse Photos on the Web

PicLens, The Most Beautiful Way to Browse Photography on the Web

Well I’ve been using PicLens for a few months now, and I’m a bit late with this post, but if you haven’t installed PicLens yet for browsing photos on the web you are missing one of the most beautiful ways to view photography on the internet yet.

The screenshot above does not do justice to the visual experience. PicLens is hands down the best I have ever seen photos look online.

PicLens is an add on for Firefox users. You can go get it here. When you add PicLens to your Firefox experience, photos on many internet sites (including Flickr and Zooomr) have a little play type triangular icon over them. When you click on this icon it transforms your viewing experience and takes photos to a brand new level. Only photos are loaded on the screen and you can move your mouse to scroll through the photos or enlarge or shrink photos in your viewing experience.

With PicLens photos float through your browser like beauty flowing from a waterfall. The motion effects are outstanding. Best of all though, PicLens allows you to see photos in the true splendor that they are best seen in. Large. One of the problems with viewing many photos large on the internet is that you have to click and wait for a new page to load. This gets boring and tiresome. Not with PicLens though. Simply move your mouse scroll button up or down and photos get larger and smaller.

As amazing as PicLens is for browsing photos on the web I do wish that they improve one thing.

Right now interacting with photos on PicLens is very difficult. While you can click through to any photo to fave/comment/bookmark/etc., when you do this PicLens ends abruptly. After you interact with the photo there is no easy way to get back to the PicLens page where you were browsing before you clicked out of your PicLens experience.

What would most easily fix this would be if PicLens allowed you to ctl-click (on a PC) or cmd-click (on a Mac) and have that photo’s page load in Firefox in the background. This way you could browse someone’s entire stream, favorites, etc. in PicLens, all the while cmd-clicking (in my case) as you go to go back and interact with the photos that you liked best once you were done.

Alternatively, TranceMist suggests that people simply could be allowed to fave/comment on a photo from within PicLens.

Looking at photos on PicLens is like seeing them in a fine art gallery or museum. Photos take on a whole new beauty. But more interactive features are still needed.

More on PicLens from Read/Write Web and Webware.

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12 Comments

  1. TranceMist says:

    I’ve always found it curious (although delightful) that PicLens allows you to view others’ photos at the maximum resolution they’ve uploaded them in, even if their permissions wouldn’t normally allow you to see “All Sizes” in Flickr.

    This is in fact one of the major reasons why I like it. Though I’m curious how the API allows them to do this… and if they can, you know that others will be able to thus download your full-res photos even if you don’t “allow” them to on Flickr.

  2. Thomas,

    I agree with you, I’ve been using PicLens more and more and although it is a fantastic service, the biggest gripes that I have is that I can’t interact while viewing them. What you suggested about being able to fave and comment right in PicLens would be ideal.

    Another ideal solution would be to expand there support for Safari. The fact is, I just don’t like Firefox all that much, I wish PicLens worked a little nicer on Safari, or the way it works with Firefox.

  3. JohnnyV says:

    wow, that’s pretty amazing…not only does it look cool, but the menu makes it alot faster to browse through images than the actual sites.

  4. Ponder says:

    This is very cool, thanks for sharing. One problem I have is that it doesn’t seem to pre-load images. I have a slow connection (1 Mb/s) and I get a horrible pixellated picture (the thumbnail blown up) for a couple of seconds while the full one is loading. I hate this, it always ruins looking at photos for me – I much prefer looking at a blank area and waiting for the high-res version. Just a little niggle though.

  5. CJPhoto says:

    Very impressive. Just need faster internet now so it brings up the higher quality images faster.

    I cant get it to work on Zooomr though. Does it work there?

  6. Coollector says:

    If you like Piclens, and if you’re also a movie buff, here’s a freeware that uses Piclens 3D wall to display your DVD collection, your favorite movies & series, your favorite actors, etc…

    It also uses the latest PicLens feature to find videos on YouTube (trailers, interviews, making of, alternate scenes, spoofs, etc…)

  7. Quikboy says:

    It also works for IE7 and IE6 as well!

  8. Excellent post.

    I wish I could easily create a gallery for my website that looked like this!

  9. Luna says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for your kind words about PicLens! We truly appreciate it.

    I think you and your readers will be delighted to hear that PicLens 1.7 has been released with the new “Return to PicLens” button that allows you to jump in and out of PicLens without losing your spot! Two other new features: Discover and Shop Amazon are now also part of PicLens!

    For anyone interested in learning more, please check out http://piclens.com and http://blog.cooliris.com.

    Thanks again,
    Luna and The Cooliris Team

  10. Anonymous says:

    REALLY nice interface, well done etc, but I have to say that staring at a grotty looking low res image for 5 seconds while the normal res one loads in gets ever so slightly grating. You can really feel your life ebbing away as you wait. If they don’t sort this out I want my money back :-)

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