Clickless Browsing

Tech, Tools, Windows

Some time back Saarr was released which helped in previewing a summary of a search result. The end result was that it helped in reducing the number of clicks.

I was introduced to 2 more tools CoolIris and Browster (via Labnol) which unlike Saarr shows the complete page when you hover over the link.


Browster allows you to browse search results more quickly and with fewer clicks. It lets you to preview a web page before you click.

When you hover over the link in a search result or a link on any page, a prefetch icon is displayed next to the cursor. When you hover over the prefetch cursor, the Browster window widget opens and shows the contents of the page.

To close the widget, you just need to move the cursor out of the Browster window.

Snapshot of Top Posts of Online Diary in Browster

The name “prefetch” I guess is little misleading. I thought once the page is prefetched, it would load a lot faster when I preview the page again. However I didn’t see any major change in the page load time.

Browster is available for both IE and Firefox.

Download Browster 2.0

However I would like to see few more changes in Browster to make the tool more effective.

1. If I resize the Browster window, the window size is not stored anywhere and every other time I have to resize it again according to my liking. It would be nice, if this setting was available via the application preferences

2. I would like the window to have a push pin which would make the Browster window always available. I could resize and position the window in a corner and later I can hover over the links and see the preview. Very useful for users having a large display.

3. Browster should improve the installation. For Firefox, I would be rather happy to see a plugin (xpi) rather than a toolbar. The toolbar has a redundant Search box which is again not needed.



CoolIris is another app which is similar to Browster. It is a free browser extensions that gives you the power to quickly preview the underlying content of links without clicking. CoolIris works on Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers. And unlike Browster, the installation on Firefox was very quick.

But unfortunately the functionality of CoolIris is not the same on all the browsers !!

With the CoolIris Previewer for Internet Explorer, you can preview most web sites, including search engine results, job listings, blogs, webmail, discussion forums, and most other web pages and links.

With the Firefox version, you can preview only Google search engine results, Google Images, Craigslist, and Ebay, and few others. CoolIris seems to be working fine with Firefox also. When I was initially testing, many of the links were not opening with CoolIris. The comment left by Alec (from cooliris) made me test it again with Firefox 1.5 and it seems to be working fine πŸ™‚ . However CoolIris cannot preview web pages hosted on a secure server (i.e., https://).

Snapshot of Top Posts of Online Diary in CoolIris

CoolIris is faster than Browser while showing the preview of a link. However the window automatically appears every time you hover over the link and this can get annoying. CoolIris should have a feature similar to Browster where there is a separate prefetch icon.

Download CoolIris

As of now I am evaluating both the applications and seem to be liking Browster more. However the UI of Browster is little sluggish compared to CoolIris, but Browster has a richer set of features as of now !


CoolIris is coming out with a new version (1.8.5)Β with better control on preferences, which might actually tempt me to vote in favor of CoolIris rather than Browster πŸ™‚

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hello Venukb:

    Thanks so much for blogging about Cooliris Previews. Really appreciate it.

    Please kindly note this correction. Cooliris Previews can preview any link on any webpage (except maybe some https sites for security reasons). The default setting is for many websites but you can actually adjust preferences by either clicking on right-clicking on the blue checkmark found at the bottom right corner of the browser.

    Regarding preferences, you have the option to have Cooliris work on all sites, some default sites, or on/off on specific sites. Basically, you have full user customization. In our new version 1.8.5 coming up within the week, you’ll even be able to set preferences for the delay before preview window pops up, or choose to use a preview icon, CTRL-hover, and other options.

    With the current Cooliris Previews, you can also send links to any email address instantly, without having to even open your email client. Another function is the right-click function, where you can right-click on a highlighted phrase and Cooliris automaticall does a subsearch for you in Google, Wikipedia, and others.

    Hope this helps. Thanks, again.

    Very best regards,

  • venukb Sep 23, 2006 Link

    Thanks for stopping by..Alec πŸ™‚

    I am not sure what happened when I was testing cooliris with firefox, It was not opening many of the links. (probably because I was using Firefox 2.0)

    Also the FAQ in your website seemed to confirm what I experienced.

    Can I preview any website?

    It depends on the browser extension you use. With the Cooliris Previewer for Internet Explorer, you can preview most websites, including search engine results, job listings, blogs, webmail, discussion forums, and most other webpages and links. With our Firefox version, you can preview only Google search engine results, Google Images, Craigslist, and Ebay, a few others, but we are working hard to expand their capabilities. Cooliris cannot preview webpages hosted on a secure server (i.e., https://).

    Now i unistalled and checked again, it seems to work fine with most of the sites, I have updated my post accordingly, you guys definitely need to update the FAQ πŸ™‚

  • Jercos Jan 8, 2007 Link

    This would be awesome, but I’m on linux πŸ˜›