A new browser add-on gathers your photographs and videos and presents them on an innovative 3D ‘wall’. We explain how to set it up and get it working.
Start by loading a web browser – Cooliris works with Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari – and go to the Cooliris website. When the site appears, click the Free Download icon.
If your browser displays a security warning, ignore it and click Allow (or the equivalent) then follow the instructions to download and install the add-on.
In Firefox (the browser we’re using) click Install Now and then restart the browser.
When the page loads, click the Continue to Cooliris link.
When the browser restarts, it’ll load the Cooliris website and associated controls – channels down the left-hand side and navigation and settings along the bottom.
However, the beauty of Cooliris is that it can be invoked whenever you like.
To see how to do this, open a new browser window or tab and visit Google’s home page. When that page loads, type a search term – we’re searching for ‘sunrise’ – and click the Search button.
When the results list appears, find the little Cooliris icon at the top right of the browser window and click it.
After a moment, the Cooliris add-on swings into action and you’ll see a display that looks like two rows of thumbnails arranged against the horizon.
Part of the fun of Cooliris is navigating through photos like this. Try it – just click and drag the mouse pointer left and right to sweep through the photographs.
The faster the pointer moves, the more extreme the angle of the photo wall will become. If your mouse has a scroll wheel, try rolling it back and forth to zoom in and out. It’s an intuitive and interesting way to look through a selection of photographs.
To zoom in on a particular photo, click on it once. Notice that Cooliris places three icons at the bottom right of each enlarged photo.
The first is used to email a link to the selected photo to a friend, while clicking the second will mark it as a favourite (accessible by clicking the Favorites link in the Channels list over on the left).
However, in both cases, Cooliris will prompt you to set up an account (supply a name, email address and password, click Register Now and then follow the instructions). Alternatively, click the third icon to open the web page where the photo is stored.
Cooliris can also display photos as a slideshow. Start by clicking the Slideshow icon at the bottom right (it looks like a little projector screen). The thumbnails drop to the foot of the screen and the currently selected picture appears full size in the middle.
Use the transport controls at the bottom left to move back and forth between the slides and click the double arrow button at the bottom right to display the show full screen.
Cooliris can be used on all sorts of websites (though it’s more successful in some situations than others).
If you’ve got a Facebook account, for example, try rolling the mouse pointer over one of your photos or those of a friend: the little Cooliris icon will appear, overlaid on top of them.
When it does, click on it – not the photo, that’ll just open in Facebook as normal – and Cooliris will open a new window displaying it and any other pictures in the album.
By default, Cooliris displays thumbnails in two rows, but that’s easy to change. Try this. Click the Settings button (it’s the cog at the bottom right) and when the dialogue box opens, change the Number of Rows setting by dragging the slider to the right.
Other settings here include the duration that slides are displayed during a show, the angle of the thumbnail wall, speed of scrolling and so on. Click Save Settings when done.
We’ll check the effects of our change in a moment but first let’s use Cooliris to look at the photos on our PC’s hard disk. Click on My Computer in the Channels list on the left, then choose Pictures and then navigate to one of the folders stored there and select it.
After a moment, Cooliris will display the contents of the folder as a photo wall in the main window. Here you can see the number of rows has changed to reflect our choice in the previous step.
The Cooliris wall also provides an innovative way to browse news and current-affairs stories from across the web. Click the News link in the Channels list on the left and choose one of the sub-categories there; we’ve picked UK news.
The familiar wall of photos will appear (videos are indicated by an overlaid ‘play’ button) but this time, when you click on one, something different happens. As it zooms in, the picture is replaced by the entire story that can read in situ.
Finally, Cooliris can be used to search for different kinds of media items. Find the search box at the top of the screen and click the little magnifying glass icon to the left of it.
Choose Youtube from the dropdown menu. Next, type in something to search for and press Enter; after a moment, the wall will fill with matching Youtube video clips.