Ever since the development team at Android showcased their Card UI, I was quite fascinated with it. It may not always be the fastest way to get things done, but it sure is convenient to have layers to go back to what you were doing earlier. Imagine having a similar functionality on your Windows or Mac, while using Chrome.
You need not dream any longer, because an extension with such functionality has finally been made. It’s called HoverCards and is available for free on the Chrome Web Store.
As the name suggests, all you need to really do is hover your mouse on links and you will be shown a glimpse of what the content is all about. This is especially great, if you’re browsing a website which has a lot of links from sites like YouTube, Imgur or even social media services like Instagram and Twitter. Websites like Reddit, for example, which have dozens of such links posted by the community.
Once you hover, the card that pops up is where you ought to click. Doing so will open another small window to the side of your browser, which will have the relevant information of what you have clicked on. If it’s a YouTube video, it will show the name of the video, along with the comments right below the main video itself.
You can maximize the video to get a bigger view of what it is you were watching. There is one more step to get a full screen view of video, which may or may not be a bad thing. It’s good because you can click anywhere on the left and get out of the preview mode back to the window where you were in Chrome, but there is multiple clicking involved. O well, you can’t have it all.
For GIF files, it’s a bit better. Once you get the preview hovering over the link, you can click on it and it starts auto playing on the side. Here’s a quick video I made while browsing Reddit, earlier. (I’m using the Reddit Enhancement Suite extension here)
Never Have Multiple Tabs Open for Social Media
It’s annoying to get plenty of links during a work day from your friends who want you to check random YouTube cat videos or their latest tweet on the new Apple product, or just another picture they posted on Instagram. If you don’t want to open too many tabs within Chrome for checking them all, the HoverCards extension is a perfect solution.
You get to see the preview and then decide if you really have that minute or 2 to spare. Or if it can be ignored. Even if you do watch it, you never have to leave the tab you had open. Neat.
It’s Not Perfect. Yet.
Videos hosted by VEVO didn’t play nice in the small preview mode. It seems that due to restrictions that it has put (in conjunction with YouTube, of course) doesn’t allow it to be played in the smaller preview mode on the side. You have to open the link in a new tab for it to work. I’m so hoping this gets fixed, soon.
Besides the services mentioned above, the extension seems to not work with others. I tried Tumblr links, vid.me links and more. But, it’s fairly limited to which ones it can work with. When it does work, it’s great. So, it’s hard to complain the variety of compatible websites, at the moment. The odd issue with Hangouts website, notwithstanding.
Although the idea is great, I do wish there were more services supported via this extension. It’s a great start and if Tessa Hunt and her team can keep building on their good work, this will be an incredibly useful extension.