Software

Amazon launches WindowShop: A 3D shopping experience

Amazon's standard site got you down? Check out WindowShop, a really cool 3D browsing experience for Amazon.com.

WindowShop is a new content-viewing layer for Amazon.com. If you've ever used Cooliris' PicLens before, you'll feel right at home, as WindowShop turns Amazon's selection of online goods into a giant wall, which you can scroll back and forth across, and zoom in and out of to find things to buy. The tool was built by Amazon and runs entirely off its S3 storage service.

Browse the latest and greatest Amazon releases with WindowShop.com. It's pure consumer eye candy. CNET Networks

Within the giant wall of product thumbnails, each of Amazon's sales categories is broken down into interactive tiles which can take up nearly your entire browser window when zoomed. Movies, TV shows, and music begin to play almost immediately, giving you the same preview you'd find on Amazon's product pages (which are just a click away on each item).

We've covered several thumbnail-inspired shopping experiences before (see Zoomii specifically), but this is one of the first that's got speed and first-party support on its side. Amazon is advertising the fact that the music wall will be updated every Tuesday to coincide with new releases. The same goes for movies, TV shows, and books.

I can't say I'm entirely convinced most people are going to use this as opposed to the standard Amazon site when it comes time to find things. It's missing the all-important search, making it more of a content showcase than a replacement for the popular shopping site. However, this new look paves the way for use on set-top boxes and other Web-enabled home entertainment devices like the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.

I'll be posting a hands-on demo of what it looks like shortly. In the meantime, simply head over to WindowShop.com to give it a spin. You'll have to have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed to take advantage of it.

Update: As promised, here's a video overview of what you can do with WindowShop. To download the full-quality version, right-click this link and choose "save link as".