Is Snap Preview the most hated Web 2.0 function ever?
Thursday February 22, 2007
We certainly haven’t seen anything to match the outpourings of bile that have followed the wannabe search engine’s little page previews, which appear on a number of wordpress.com sites and elsewhere.The Snap Preview Anywhere technology (also available as a Firefox plugin!) means that if you hover your mouse over a link, you’ll see a little popup window showing the site being linked to, attached to the place where your mouse is. The first time, you think, “Cool!” The second time, you think, “Oh, that.” The third time, most people think, “How the hell do I turn this thing off?” (Clue: click on the little “Options” text in the popup box and choose “Disable for ALL sites.” Add “Damn you!” if you like.)
Part of the revulsion over Snap Preview is in that dangerous word “popup”: it’s too like an unwanted ad. Plus, who needs to know what the site you might go to looks like? The preview’s too small to tell you anything useful, but often obscures text on the page you’re still on.Snap has been doing its best to fight off a veritable blog blizzard of disapproval: “Since launch some 700,000 websites and blogs have signed up for the service and some 180m previews have been served,” wrote Erik Wingren, its senior researcher, on its blog (blog.snap.com). “The Snap Preview Anywhere service was designed to help users make more informed decisions about what links to click on and thereby help them navigate the internet with greater speed and accuracy.” We still can’t see it, to be honest. Isn’t that what the URL tells you? Meanwhile, Snap’s principal ambition – as a new search engine – may be fatally wounded. We’ll wait and see … without pop-ups.