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Friday, March 30th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet


Look before you leap! You’ve probably heard that phrase before, but did you ever think it could apply to search engines? Well, a feature I’ve found lacking in many search engines is the ability to preview Web sites before you actually visit them. So, I did some investigating and found a great new search engine called Snap. is a search engine that allows you to preview the Web sites that are part of your search results before you even visit them for the first time. This will allow you to get the main idea of the Web site before actually navigating to it. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a lot of searches to perform.

To check this new search engine out for yourself, go ahead and visit You will be greeted by a page similar to this:

To search for something, just do it like you normally would. Type in your query and hit Enter on your keyboard. As you’re typing in the query, you’ll notice that popular terms, synonyms and other suggestions will appear in a drop down box.

You’ll also notice immediately that there are two panes in the search window. One pane contains the results of your search, with each having a small description. The other pane contains the preview of those results. To see a preview of one of your results, just hover over it in the left pane and click on the description to that particular one.

Another great feature I found was the ability to have the results in the left pane and actually view the Web site in the right one. Snap refers to this as interactive viewing. What I mean by that is that you could actually be clicking on links from a Web site, copying and pasting text, saving images and so much more, without ever having to leave Snap’s site. To enable interactive viewing, when the preview of the Web site you want to make interactive is selected, just click the right arrow key. It’s magnificent, because it allows you to view the site, without leaving the rest of your search results behind.

Snap also has an image search. In the image search, many small thumbnails are displayed. When you click on a thumbnail, a larger preview is displayed in the right pane. This clever design allows you to see many thumbnails all at once. It also lets you see a large preview of the image without a lot of hassle. Snap’s image search also contains filters if you’d like to use them. For example, if you were searching for pictures of tennis players, but you want a black and white large image, select those filters. Then, only the images that match that criterion will be displayed for you.

Snap also offers a service for those of you who have a Web site or blog of your own. You can install some simple HTML that will make a small balloon appear when a visitor hovers over a link to another Web site. This is especially useful if your site or blog contains a lot of external links. You can also set it to display a preview of internal links, if your Web site has been previewed by Snap itself. It’s just another way to help your visitors out. The balloon also lets your visitors start a Snap search. You can even choose a color scheme that matches your site perfectly. Another bit of code allows your visitors to turn this feature on and off. The code for these features can be found here.

Finally, Snap’s desktop toolbar can be found right here, if you’re interested in something like that. At that link, you can also find a search plug-in for Mozilla Firefox and the new Internet Explorer, version 7. A desktop widget and ActiveX control can be found there as well.

Happy previewing!

~ Neil Patel

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