piclens2.jpgPiclens is a new plug-in for your Firefox Internet browser that lets you launch into a full-screen into a slideshow while browsing photos.

After you download PicLens, here’s how it works.

First, let’s say you want to look at all the pictures on Flickr taken by your friend while she traveled New Zealand.

You can then see a slideshow of them on your desktop by clicking on PicLens’ icon within any of the images on her album (you have to mouse over the image to see the icon, as shown below). Once you click, your screen changes into a full-screen slide show.

newzealand.jpgThe image you clicked on blows up to fill your screen, and a strip of thumbnails below shows the other images next in line. You click on a play button, and PicLens scrolls through each of the pictures — blowing each image up to their full size on your screen. It does the same for images on Google and Yahoo, and Facebook photo album images. It will do this for any site that supports the Media RSS format.


Media RSS is a format created by Yahoo, but which is now an open standard and free for others to use. Web site owners can make their sites compatible with PicLens by pasting some code within their site, which specifies the content displayed. Emily’s Photo Site is an example site that supports Media RSS. See the code below for what this looks like.

Search for “flowers” on Google images, for example, and you can then see a slideshow of Google’s entire inventory of flower images by clicking on PicLens’ icon within any of the images.

To our knowledge this isn’t offered by anyone else. Slide and Rockyou offer slideshows, but to view them you have to store images on their site, or have them embedded in a widget. PicLens brings the experience to your desktop.

The company doesn’t have any plans to monetize this yet. They want to distribute the product and worry about that later.
There’s a raunchier use for this, of course: Use PicLens while searching Google images for “Alessandra,” or any other female name for that matter, and you’ll quickly grasp how a good portion of Piclens’ users are likely to use this product. Let your mind wander from there. Even then, we’re not certain how money is to be made.

It is the latest product offered by Cooliris, a Palo Alto start-up launched last year. Piclens was first released last year for Safari browsers only.

Here is the RSS Media code:

1. Create a Media RSS feed with items for each of your photos:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:media="http://

<title>Emily's Photo Site</title>
<description>Photos from my trip to Africa.</ description>

<media:thumbnail url="thumbs/0.jpg" />
<media:content url="images/0.jpg" type="image/ jpeg" />

. . .


2. Add the Media RSS feed to your web page:

<link rel="alternate" href="photos.xml" type="application/rss+xml"
title="PicLens RSS" />

3. PicLens automatically enables the launch icon on image links with the same URL as an item in the RSS feed:

<a href="images/0.jpg"><img
class="photo" src="thumbs/0.jpg"></a>

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.