For the links of six popular sites, the HoverCards extension lets you see a preview and the option to view a slide-out panel instead of a new tab or page.
If you like the idea of 3D Touch on the forthcoming iPhone 6S that will let you, among other things, peek at an app before deciding to open it, then you may want to check out Chrome extension HoverCards that delivers similar functionality right now on your computer.
At present, HoverCards currently works with only six types of links -- those from Imgur, Instagram, Reddit, SoundCloud, Twitter and YouTube. The developer states that more are in the works. When you hover over a link from one of the six sites, a small pop-up window -- a HoverCard, if you will -- appears. For a YouTube link, for example, you will see a thumbnail and the title of the video along with the number of views, likes and dislikes it has received. For a Twitter link, you will see the number of tweets, followers and those following the user in question.
If you click on the HoverCard, a panel opens along the right edge of Chrome, keeping you on your current page instead of loading a new page or opening a new tab. In this panel, you will see, say, an Imgur image along with comments. Or a Twitter feed. Or a YouTube video that will play in the panel.
In preferences, you can set the types of links for which you'd like to see HoverCards. Each of the six sites has two options. For Reddit, for example, you can choose Posts or User HoverCards or both.