There are a number of really great services that allow you to search images and videos hosted on specific sites like YouTube and Flickr. Some examples are Wibe7.tv, PicClick and Compfight and though all of them are useful in their own right, none hold a candle to the visually stimulating Cooliris. We’re talking of course about Cooliris’ infamous 3D wall and browserless environment. (Think gigantic interactive media viewer in 2002's "Minority Report")
Imagine then, our delightful surprise at learning about CoolFlick, a Cooliris-powered image search engine with similar eye-pleasing aesthetics. What’s even better? With CoolFlick there’s no downloading necessary.
Beyond the Browser
In case you’re not in the know, Cooliris (formerly known as PicLens) is a client-side web browser plug-in for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari that provides an alternative way to navigate the sub content of multiple web pages at once – without the web page.
As you peruse popular websites like YouTube, Google Images, Flickr, deviantART, Photobucket or any site that implements MRSS, the Cooliris icon will appear. Click the icon and you're transported into a browser-less environment that Cooliris Inc. calls their 3D Wall.
All similarly tagged media appears thumbnail style as you fly through an endless scrollable hallway - -like a universe of pictures. One click enlarges the image or video. Another icon will redirect you to the actual webpage should you want to read the accompanying text.
"I've wondered for a long time why the computer interface hasn't changed from 20 years ago," said Austin Shoemaker, chief technology officer of Cooliris Inc. "People should think of a computer interface less as a tool and more as an extension of themselves or as an extension of their mind."
Lose the Download, Not the Browser
On the flip side, there are many of us out there that absolutely LOVE our browsers. With the increasing number of options and exciting digital carnage from the browser wars, it’s unlikely the masses are going to opt for something different any time soon.
That’s why CoolFlick is so…well, cool. The visual search engine is a nice balance between Shoemaker’s idea of innovation and current trends.
Rather than adding another plug-in to your browser, CoolFlick functions directly on their website. Just type in a query and watch sexiness accented by Flickr files unfold before your very eyes. Need an example? No problem—you can embed your results as well:
CoolFlick 'lolcat' search results
Nifty, right? Try out the following features right here:
- Grab a gray area and drag your mouse left and right to move down the hallway
- Resize thumbnails with the scroll of your mouse button
- Embed search results on your website (you can steal our example, everyone loves lolcats)
I Can Haz More Plz?
Of course, there's some functionality we'd like to see added. Advanced search would be nice, as would unlimited photo results and further integration with popular sites like YouTube. Extended information on mouse over would be awesome, too.
Until then however, CoolFlick's current capabilities are a good start.
So, while you're wrapping your mind around the idea of a computer being an extension of your actual thoughts, visit www.coolflick.org and get to playing.