PicLens provides instant immersive slideshows on many websites

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PicLens is a free browser extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari that interacts with a number of the most popular image sharing sites to provide a seamless, full-screen “immersive slideshow” experience. Sites supported include Google Images, Yahoo Images, Facebook, Friendster, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums.

It is also possible to embed PicLens immersive slideshows within your own site or blog.

This program is a little bit hard to describe: imagine that you’re browsing, say, Flickr, and that you are looking at a page full of thumbnails. Normally what you would do is click on the thumbnail and view the image, go back to the page with the thumbnail and click on the next image and so on.

What PicLens offers is an alternate way of viewing the images that literally “takes over” and overlays itself on top of your browser window; your images will be displayed full screen and all thumbnails presented in a horizontal sequence that is quickly browsable on the bottom of the screen.

  • Piclens - clicking on a thumbnail in FlickrHow it works: whenever you are surfing on a site that supports PicLens, a little distinct arrow will appear on the image thumbnail when you mouse over it which signals that the images are browsable with PicLens. Clicking on the arrow will activate the PicLens image browser, while clicking on the thumbnail anywhere around it will open/display the image as normal. (See second screenshot).
  • Browsing with PicLens: you can use the mouse or arrow keys to scroll through the images, as well as the navigation arrows to move/jump back and forth.
  • PicLens on your site: this is possible. The developers of PicLens provide a WordPress plugin for blogs powered by WordPress (of which this is one). If you do not use WordPress you can use “PicLens Publisher” on your site, which can create immersive slideshows. It will generate the code for you and allow you to customize by adding your logo and/or other audio/video files (and also seems to support Piclens style slideshows within RSS feeds). Moreover, it seems that visitors to your site or WordPress blog can view the slideshows without needing the PicLens plugin if their browser is equipped with Flash v.9.0.28 or higher.

You might ask: is it really worth it to go through the trouble of installing this given that it only supports a handful of sites? If you use or visit any of the supported sites then the answer is a definite yes. If you do so only occasionally the answer might well be yes as well. Try it out for yourself and see how you like it.

Watch a video demo of PicLens below:

Version Tested: 1.5.17 beta

Compatibility: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac. Requires IE 6 or higher, Firefox or Safari.

Go to the program page download the latest version (approx 815K).