Snap and Cooliris Web Previews – Server-side versus Client-side

Web previews are becoming more and more popular. If you are not familiar with them, they provide a snapshot of a web page before actually visiting the web page.

Snap is a search engine that has exported its technology across the web (and particularly on blogs) by enabling website owners to show Snap Previews for external links. I integrated Snap Previews into TECHNOSIGHT last week. So, if you are on the site and not in an RSS reader, you can see it in action on this link to Snap.com.

While Snap represents more of a server-side architecture, Cooliris is a browser extension/add-on that powers a similar feature. In this case, the user (client-side) has more control – and Cooliris also doesn’t load for every single external link, you need to hover over a link and then click the blue box next to it to show the preview. Cooliris will then load a full screen of the actual web page.

Cooliris does take a second or so to load the page but it can save you a click. It’s also particularly helpful when you are browsing portal like sites where you typically read an article and then browse back to the homepage.

Read Write / Web had a nice write-up about web previews and it seemed that those in the comments section were not completely sold on the server-side architecture of Snap. I’ve always found previews helpful, which is why I integrated Snap Previews onto my site. My instinct is that many of those readers are much more technically savvy and don’t like to be forced into anything but you can share your thoughts in the comments section, if you feel so inclined.