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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Browster, the plug-in you must have

Browster, the plug-in you must have

I've been writing a lot about "Web 2.0" products lately. But I'm still using an old-fashioned browser, Firefox. Let's be generous and call it a Web 1.5 product, since the tabs in Firefox (and in the new beta of Internet Explorer) do make a big difference in how you can handle having multiple pages and sites open. But browsing the Web is still point, click, wait, back, repeat. Old news.

There's a better way. Recently I covered Snap, a search engine that displays actual pages alongside results text. Despite what I said about Snap overall, I like the interface concept. I'd like to see it elsewhere. Everywhere, in fact. And I can, with the Browster plug-in [download]. The download installs it on both Firefox and Internet Explorer (there's no Mac support yet, though).

All this little gem does is pop up a window to the Web site that is under each link on your page when you hover over the link. When you mouse back to the original page, the pop-up disappears. On Google, it caches the first couple of links, so checking out search results in pop-ups is nearly instantaneous.

The plug-in isn't perfectly executed (neither Rojo nor NewsGator work as advertised with it, at least not in Firefox), but it is nonetheless extraordinarily useful. It gets you more information from the Web more quickly and easily than a current, unadorned browser. In fact, now that I'm using it in my browser, I desperately want it everwhere else: in my Word documents, e-mail, and so on. It's like TiVo. After a few days, you wonder how you managed without it.