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Surfing the web comes down to performing search engine queries and then clicking on links to check if the site has the answers that you want. As far back as 2007, MUO has been covering the model of search “preview” panes, such as the short list of Firefox search preview plugins that Kaly covered. This field really took off when Google launched “Instant Preview” which Nancy covered. Ann also reviewed a few creative ways to open up a “preview panel” in Firefox to website preview links without having to click on them.
I’ve used the Google preview option before, but never really found the time to really dig into how much time the right website preview solution could save. Basically, I was too busy to discover how much time I could save – as ironic as that sounds. That is, until I discovered CoolPreview.
Using The CoolPreviews Firefox Plugin
Once you install the CoolPreviews plugin, the link preview feature is ready to go. Also, unlike Google Instant Preview, the CoolPreviews plugin will give you a link preview window everywhere you go on the Internet, regardless of what website you’re on. All you have to do is hover your mouse over any link at all, and you’ll see the CoolPreviews icon show up.
Hover your mouse over that icon, and the preview “window” pops up and shows you the webpage in a scrollable format. It’s actually like having an embedded browser window inside the existing browser window. You can explore the page, click on links and check out the site without ever leaving the current page that you’re on. If you like what you see, just click the button at the top of the window to open the site in a new tab. Don’t like it? Just close the window.
If you don’t want to bother with opening and closing the preview window every time you want to see a link, just click on the pin icon at the upper right corner of the screen and the preview window will stay available.
Just slide the preview window down to the corner of your browser window, and it’ll show you a quick preview of every link you hover your mouse over – a fast and easy way to browse the web from one browser window. Gone are the days of opening tab after tab just to check links.
As you browse through the Internet in one tab, you just glide your mouse over each link, glance at the site in the website preview pane, move on the the next link, and keep on rolling until you see the page that has the information you want. Then you can click to open it in a new tab (or just navigate the page from the preview window itself!)
It’s also really easy to customize the behavior and appearance of the preview window by clicking on the settings button. Change when the preview window appears, where it shows up on the browser window, and even the theme of the preview window.
Another really useful feature of CoolPreviews is the Google Images feature. When you search Google Images and hover your mouse over an image, a preview of the picture in its actual size will show up in the CoolPreviews window. If you want to see all of the images from the Google Image results in a clean and convenient slideshow gallery, just click on the Play button.
A large slideshow window will open with the selected image in the center pane, and a navigation slider at the bottom. Just click the arrow to browse through all of the Google Image results.
Another really cool feature of CoolPreviews is the Temporary Bookmark Stack. If you find a cool site that you want to bookmark for future reading, just tap the “Stack” button, and the add-on will toss the URL into a virtual stack of webpages.
You’ll see a small tab attached to the right side of the browser window which you can tap on to explore your stack of bookmarks whenever you like.
What’s the point of “temporary” bookmarks? Well, have you ever been researching a particular subject, and you wanted to just fly through search results and save the URL’s for deeper reading later? Basicaly, CoolPreviews lets you do three steps in one. You do a Google Search, hover over the links to see a page preview, and when you see something useful, you can bookmark it to read later. You can do all three steps with a single click.
CoolPreviews converted me to the world of “link previews” – and I’ve already started cutting down a lot of time off my research efforts. I’m confident it’ll do the same for you. Give it a try and let us know how you liked it in the comments section below!