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A Browster for your browser

In these days of information overload, we all need tools to help us speed up our online researches and readings. And even if it exists for a year, it’s a recent column by Rafe Needleman, from CNET News.com, which introduced me to Browster, a little plug-in for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It’s free, doesn’t contain any spyware or adware, and it’s a great productivity tool for browsing. Unfortunately, it only works for Windows users — no Mac or Linux versions exist. But I’ve been using it for almost a week now and here is my review of this great little tool.

So how does Browster work? After a small download and a quick installation, small icons will appear close to all links on a page you’re viewing. Move your cursor over the icon, and a pop-up window will appear with the contents of the page referenced by the link. Move back the cursor, and the window will close. No need to click on the link, no need to return to the previous page: it’s still available.

But wait, it’s even better with some sites such as Google, Yahoo! or eBay. While you’re looking at the result list, Browster reads it and preloads all the links. This means that when you move the cursor to a Browster icon, the page is immediately visible. You also can extend this prefetch feature to any site of your choice — at least in the Internet Explorer version.

And even if this was not enough, you can really browse in a Browster window: you can use the arrow keys to move up and down within a window; you can use the page-up and page-down keys to move from a link to another; and you can even visit a new link!

In the mean time, your original page is still waiting for you: what a┬ásaving of time! I’m sure your mouse and your wrist will ask you to thank Browster.

However, there are still a couple of things that could be improved — for my own usage at least. With Internet Explorer, the Browster icon can appear far from a link (on “regular” pages, but not on a Google result page), which means it disappears before you reach it. On the contrary, with Firefox — but I’m using a much greater resolution — the icons can be so close from a link that the pop-up window might appear even if you don’t want.

And of course, it would be better if a Mac and a Linux version were in the works. But it doesn’t seem to be the case anytime soon.

But for a Windows user of Firefox, this neat application really is “extraordinarily useful,” as writes Needleman.

If you want to know more before installing this plug-in on your system, you can read the Frequently Asked Questions section or the Browster Blog.

Sources: Rafe Needleman, CNET News.com, May 26, 2006; and Browster web site

One Response to “A Browster for your browser”

  1. Alex Iskold Says:


    Good review! Browster is cool and is definitely a good productivity tool! I thought you might like another productivity tool for Firefox called blueorganizer. It is developed by adaptiveblue: http://www.adaptiveblue.com.


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Roland Piquepaille
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