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July 7, 2007

Interclue - Clever Link Previews

Interclue is a Firefox extension that adds more information about a link when you hover over it. It's not that annoying as the famous Snap tooltip and it certainly provides much more information about the page. As you can see in the screenshot above, you need to hover over a link, and then over the site's favicon that appears next to the link. Interclue shows a preview of the page that includes most of the actual content, a thumbnail, information about the last update, the number of words, links, images, a tag cloud with the most popular tags. But the most impressive thing is that all this data loads almost instantly and it's actually useful, especially when you want to judge the quality of a search result (including if it returns a server error). The preview window can be resized and dragged around, but it disappears when you move your mouse unless you lock it.

When the link points to a file (for example, a PDF), Interclue shows its file size and the last modified date, as reported by the web server. This is useful if you don't have a fast Internet connection and you don't want to wait for an hour to download Adam Bosworth's speech about health. Fortunately, the file is quite small.

The previews are pretty clever: for example, the preview for a link to a YouTube video shows the actual video. The extension "tries to avoid doing any look-ahead operations on [links that produce side-effects] by avoiding links with certain keywords in their text and link (such as 'logout', 'delete', 'remove' and so on), and also by turning off Linkclues for internal links on secure sites, which are typically used for banking, ordering goods and services".

You'll find a lot of things you can change in the settings and also the options to disable the previews for certain domains. Overall, the extension takes a great concept from Cooliris and transforms into a brilliant tool.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I've been using Coolaris. Now that you recommend, I'm gonna give it a try.

  2. Great add-on but for some reason it conflicts with the Google talk gadget rendering it useless and unable to load your contacts. It is a great add-on but I like my Google talk gadget a bit more :) I'll keep this add-on in mind if I need to preview a lot of sites :)

  3. I got an email from Interclue about this very problem (Google Talk Gadget and the calendar from Google Analytics don't work):

    << Thanks very much for letting us know about the problem with dynamically appearing flash objects - or rather, not appearing when they should be! This is now our top priority bug to fix, hopefully won't take us too long. >>

    A quick workaround is to disable Interclue from the status bar before loading the gadget. Then enable Interclue again.

  4. Somehow I failed to twig that it was you who reported the flash widget bug, or I would have thanked you for this most excellent review at the same time!

    The good news is that we have cracked the problem and are just testing that and a few other changes ahead of the next update which should be out within 48hrs.

    As you say, the temporary workaround is to switch off Interclue from the status bar, or switch it to "disabled on this domain" mode, until firefox alerts you to the new release.