Tag Archives | Cooliris

Cooliris Gets Cooler (and Easier)

I’ve written before about Cooliris, a cool piece of software that lets you browse images and videos by zooming past a 3D Wall of thumbnails. It’s certainly more entertaining than standard methods for browsing media, and arguably more efficient as well–the wall lets you scan massive quantities of items without having to click a “Next Page” link over and over again.

Cooliris started out as an alternative to more mundane methods of browsing, but the company has lately been working on injecting its Walls into the Web as we kow it. Earlier this week, it updated me on embeddable walls and Cooliris Express, two features that let anybody easily create walls and bring them into sites of all sorts–no Cooliris plug-in required. (These Walls are Flash-based.)

As their name suggests, embdeddable walls sit inside other Web pages; Cooliris Express is a tool for specifying what media is featured in a Wall. You can use items from Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, or Facebook, or tap a MediaRSS feed to insert content from any source. Items in the walls you create now have quick links for sharing via Facebook or Twitter, and the company says it’s speeded up the performance of walls as you swoop around. And the Walls you embed are ad-free (unless you want to participate in a program that lets you display ads and get a cut of the profits).

All this is easier to show than explain. Here’s a silly little Wall that displays a feed of YouTube videos with the keyword “TRS-80.” I created it in about 30 seconds.



Cooliris Inside Your Browser

Cooliris LogoCooliris, the clever browser plugin that lets you view content from Google Images, Hulu, and other sources in a never-ending wall of thumbnails that fly by in 3D space, just came out in a new version, 1.11, with one major new feature: You can now browse photos, videos, and other items either in the existing full-screen mode or within a browser tab.

Here’s Cooliris in the new within-the-browser mode, which is now the default state:

Cooliris in a tab

And here it is in the still-available full-screen mode:

Cooliris Full-Screen Mode

The screens above don’t look much different, but the within-a-tab mode has a major effect on how you use Cooliris, since it no longer means leaving all your other tabs (and other applications) behind. You can leave one or more Cooliris tabs open and jump between them and other activities. It’s also easier to return to a Cooliris view than before: If you move back through pages using your browser’s Back button the Cooliris views show up like any other page, and every Cooliris view has a permalink which you can bookmark or send to friends.

Cooliris also added a horizontal scroll bar which you can use to pan through a wall of images–especially useful on Windows PCs that lack Mac-style multitouch scrolling:

Cooliris horizontal scroll

Cooliris has always been pretty addictive–once you launch a search and start whipping through it, it’s hard to stop. But I think the new mode and better browser integration will make it more likely that you’ll actually use it every day to get stuff done, rather than every once in a while when you remember it’s there.

Cooliris 1.11 for Internet Explorer and Firefox is available now; an update for Safari is due soon. The Cooliris folks told me that they’re also considering creating a version for Google Chrome.


Cooliris: Finally, 3D Browsing That Really is Cool

Cooliris LogoFor years, folks have been trying to harness the power of 3D graphics to improve Web navigation. (Here’s a review of a 3D browser I wrote almost eight years ago; here’s another that’s currently on the market.) And for years, such products have failed to change the world, or even attract many users at all–to such an extent that I wondered if browsing was meant to remain a basically two-dimensional activity. I’m not the only one, apparently–an imaginary 3D version of Chrome was part of Google’s April Fool’s extravaganza week before last.

But starting today, a browser add-on called Cooliris (formerly known as Piclens) is available in a new version, 1.10. It brings flashy 3D effects to browsing, and it is, indeed, cool–mostly because it’s useful. Cooliris works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, and runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux, and lets you browse massive quantities of images and/or videos from an array of sources–Google Images, Flickr, Facebook, Hulu, Picasa, your own computer, and many other venues–by zipping through a full-screen wall of tiny images that flies around in 3D space. (Its extremely reminiscent of the video-wall imagery Apple uses to promote Apple TV.)

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