PicLens

I stumbled across this really cool browser plug-in called PicLens.  Basically, it takes just about any photo website (Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa) and allows you to view the photos in a full-screen browser/slideshow.

The interface kind of reminds me of the full-screen view in iPhoto, with a little bit of "coverflow" thrown it (it’s definitely Mac inspired).  It works with all major browsers, and even works with the Apple Remote (assuming you have a newer Mac that came with the Apple remote – I haven’t tested this feature yet, as I have an older iMac).

What’s really cool is that if you browse to a Flickr profile, say http://www.flickr.com/photos/9970718@N03/, and launch PicLens, it will load all of the photos from that profile (not just the ones on the first page).  It does the same thing for tags (on Flickr, at least), making it extremely easy to browse, say http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/cat/ or http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/chicago.

It’s really easy to install, and doesn’t seem to take up much resources (although, I can see this being really slow on older computers).

My only complaints have to do with some usability issues.  First, when you double-click on a photo to see it larger, it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.  There is a thin little bar beneath the photo to indicate that it’s loading, but it’s not very noticeable.  There really needs to be greater visual feedback as to what’s going on (even just making the bar a little bit thicker would help).  Then, after the photo loads, it doesn’t enlarge right away – you have to double-click it again!  (Although, this doesn’t seem to happen each time.)  Third, after you’re done viewing the photo you have to double-click it to shrink it back down and return to the browser wall.  I hit the Esc key to do this, which exited PicLens entirely.

Hopefully they’ll correct these minor issues in an upcoming release, but in the mean time it is still worth checking out.

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