Sorry for the snark in the headline, but while I’m glad to see this new feature, there have been site previews in Web search engines for years. Why did it take Google so long? It’s like RSS in the News results, it’s…
Okay, never mind, rant off — if I keep going I’m likely to start screaming for y’all to get off my lawn. Google announced a couple days ago a new “Instant Previews” feature. This will allow you to take a quick look at a page before you go to visit it.
Instead of a page preview or thumbnail appearing in the body of the page itself, the preview will appear off to one side, activated by a magnifying glass that appears in the search result. Once you’ve clicked that icon, you can hold your mouse over any search result to get a preview of what the page looks like.
Any text that appears in both the result snippet and on the page will appear on an orange callout box. Which is nice, because mostly these page previews aren’t readable. Clicking on the preview will take you directly to that Web site, while closing a preview will deactivate that feature until you reactivate it again.
Of course, not every Web site responds well to a page preview. Check out the screenshot for one example of what you might get when using the new feature.
I looked around a little for a site that was listed as “dangerous” in Google to see what its page preview would look like, but I couldn’t find one. (And frankly poking around looking for one made me nervous.)
If you’re interested in how page previews have been handled before, check out this article at ReadWriteWeb. Warning: this article is over three years old and most of the resources mentioned here are defunct.