Authors of image catalog and viewer applications are facing hard times nowadays as there are thousands of such programs available free of charge. It is hard to distinguish yourself in such an environment. One of the breakaway possibilities are presented by online applications. Why should I download heaps of megabytes to have a simple image viewer? Cooliris, whose newest version, 1.11 has been published lately, might have been brought to life with such a thought in mind.
Cooliris offers a very spectacular and easy-to-use interactive interface which can display any (browser-compatible) image and video file. You can search other people's images, just like using the search features of major search engines, or based on topics, in addition to browsing the folders on your own drives.
Of course you cannot totally evade downloading and installing, but it's just a meager 3 megs. Of course, downloading is free of charge, and Cooliris creeps onto your browser in an instant. In Firefox, you can see a Cooliris icon next to the search text field in the upper right corner. You can click this to quickly launch the application.
The software uses the browser interface for displaying images. If you click to the icon, the image viewer interface appears. You can select the type of pictures to be viewed in the top left corner:
Channels: topic-based web search, e.g. news attachments, picture of the day, travel, entertainment, technology, etc.
Shopping: product photo search divided into four topics.
Favorites: your favorite photos. Just drag and drop an image onto the folder. Requires registration.
My Computer: browse the photos on your computer.
On the upper right, you can also see a separate search field that lets you search for any picture.
Above the topics, there are two arrows for stepping back and forward in viewing history, just like in a web browser.
As mentioned before, the image rendering is very spectacular, in the shape of an easy-to-navigate 3D animated photo wall. Panning is very simple and quick. Just click the left-and-right arrow in the bottom center, or drag the blue slider, and you can jump up to hundreds of pictures in a moment.
The middle scroll wheel of the mouse can be used to zoom photos in and out, and you can click each of them for individual viewing. In this latter case, the three icons in the lower left corner of images can be used to send the picture in an e-mail, copy it into the Favorites folder, or view the original web page for the image. If you click the mentioned lower controls, the image slides back among the others with a nice animation and you can continue browsing.
A few options can be found in the lower left corner of the browser window. The five buttons located here serve the following purposes:
Log in: after a simple registration, you can access extra features such as the Favorites folder or messaging after logging in.
Preferences: basic settings for the software. A separate page lets you specify zooming, scroll speed of the photo wall, and the number of rows in it. You can also set the delay time for slide shows here.
Help: a little aid to using the interface (easy enough anyway).
SlideShow: automatically displays the pictures zoomed, one after another.
Maximize: hides remnants of the browser interface and displays the viewer in full-screen. Click again to toggle back windowed view.
I guess that's all to talk about—this is what Cooliris is for. It is spectacular, simple and fast. There are not many extras, but they are simple enough for a 2-year old to use. It is a must for touch-screen maniacs!
The software can be downloaded free of charge from the product website.