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PicLens, coolest Web photo viewer ever, gets updated

Trust me, just download it.

PicLens, which we've covered before, is a browser plug-in that replaces the typical photo viewer you use on sites like Flickr. It's recently been updated, and if you haven't checked it out lately, now's the time. It's stunning.

The plug-in, which works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Flock, and Safari (where it's a bit limited), lets you create a moving wall of images where you'd otherwise just see your Web app's more static display of pictures. Launching the viewer is just a matter of clicking a new "play" icon that appears on images when you're on a PicLens-supported site.

Sort of like CoverFlow, and in a very good way.

You can fling the wall backwards and forward to see images in the list, zoom in to full-screen versions of files with a double-click, or start a slideshow. It's a very Mac-like experience.

You also get a search bar in the viewer, which can scan for tagged images on Google, Yahoo, Flickr, PhotoBucket, SmugMug, and DeviantArt. The plug-in itself recognizes images from more sites, including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Picassa Web Albums, and AOL Images.

I use it to keep my kid entertained (a slideshow of helicopters will quiet him right down). It really is a better experience than the standard search, view, and slideshow experience you usually get.

There's no embeddable version of the PicLens view yet. I'd like to see that.

CoolIris, which makes PicLens, is nicely funded by Kleiner-Perkins, and as yet has no system to make money from the service. Expect ads in the system to come once the user base has grown. Until then, you can enjoy this sweet product without commercial interruption.