Enlarge thumbnails on mouse-over with Hover Zoom for Chrome

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Hover Zoom is a free Chrome extension that displays the full, large image from a thumbnail on almost any web site just by hovering over it (see screenshot).

It can be configured so that the image viewing behavior is always present on mouse-over, or activated via a keyboard/mouseover combination.

It works with most sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt, Amazon, and others.

What is also cool is the ability to quickly save images to the hard drive (by Hover-Zooming and pressing ‘S’ on the keyboard).

Hover Zoom in action screenshot2

Hover Zoom OptionsCustomizability: if you go to Hover Zoom options, you will be impressed. Some examples:

  • Keyboard & mouse combinations: the default behavior is to zoom on mouse-over, but you can set it to only zoom if a hotkey is pressed. Or, conversely, you can set it to always zoom, but use a hotkey to suppress zooming behavior
  • Additional keyboard actions: by default, you can press press ‘S’ to save the image to the hard drive, ‘W’ to open in a new window, ‘T’ to open in a new tab, and ‘Z’ to activate full zoom in all the available space. All hotkeys are customizable.
  • What to display: you can set it to ‘full zoom’ (the entire image), or auto-resize the zoomed image to fit your browser window. The opacity of the zoomed pictures can also be tweaked.
  • Site specificity or exclusion: you can create a blacklist of sites you do not want Hover Zoom to be active with, or alternately turn the list into a ‘whitelist’ whereby Hover Zoom will only work on these.

The verdict: I really like this, especially for photography sites (or sites that will needlessly open images in new tab or window).

The two things I like most are (a) the ability to activate Hover Zoom only when a keyboard key is pressed, which is my recommended way to use this, and (b) the ability to quickly save the image via the ‘S’ key. The one thing I wish they would add is the option to skip browsing to a save location and the whole save picture dialog, and simply using a default folder with the image name as it exists on the website.

Get Hover Zoom here (requires Chrome).