PicLens Review

Among the plethora of add-ons available for the Firefox browser, Piclens is one of the most impressive – mainly because it appears to offer much of the ‘wow’ of Vista or Leopard’s smooth graphical wizardry, but through a browser, and with none of the high RAM requirements of the operating systems. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must to visit http://www.piclens.com and install.

Even more unusual, Piclens is also supported in Internet Explorer and Safari add-ons for Windows and Mac. Only Linux users are left in out in the cold. What Piclens does is more difficult to explain. At its most simple, it offers a view of the internet as a 3D, smoothly scrolling wall. The wall entirely replaces the usual browser interface, so it appears much more like a separate piece of software than a browser plugin. Try it with Flikr and you can immediately see the attraction, as an endless wall of beautifully rendered images sweeps by, which you can zoom into and manipulate at will. But it also integrates with Google, Amazon, YouTube (it shows videos too) and other search engines, so that you can search the internet in a new and visual way. Put simply, it’s about as far from your grandad’s HTML home page as you could imagine. One question remains: is it useful? While for graphical work it might be useful to view thousands of images at once, navigating them is quite difficult, and the ‘metadata’ that goes along with the images hard to view. Time will tell, but for now Piclens is the most impressive add-on you’ll never use.