Snap Previews

I added the Snap Preview Anywhere feature, which provides thumbnails of linked websites upon mousing over the link, to the site about a month ago because I’d seen it elsewhere and liked it. A couple of readers complained about it this afternoon, so I’ve added a badge after the ads in the left sidebar that supposedly makes the previews optional.

Does anyone but me find them interesting?

UPDATE (3/10): The consensus seems to be that they’re more annoying than interesting, so I’ve disabled them. I’ve left them on OTB Sports and Gone Hollywood for the time being, as they have a different kind of audience.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ob1 says:

    I find them very annoying and worthless. What is the point? If I am interested in the link, I’ll click it, if I am not, then I won’t. A tiny preview will not change anything.

  2. paladin says:

    No! Make them stop! For some reason, I can’t get them to stop and they cover the “real” part of your blog. Please, please, PLEASE make them stop!

  3. Mister Biggs says:

    I think they are nifty.

  4. Make them go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

  5. BTW, I was able to make them go away, but I had to reload your page to make that take affect. It even had the option to disable it for all sites. Hurray.

  6. I dislike them. Intensely.

  7. McGehee says:

    FWIW, I was interested in them enough to try them on my own site, but the novelty wore off in a hurry. As a rule I guess I just prefer that things not pop-up on mouseover, unless they’re plain tooltip-type things showing a very small amount of text.

  8. Scott_T says:

    I like them for the plain simple fact that they allow a viewer to “preview” a link, and if it comes up blank under the Snap Preview, you know your company’s internet filter has canned the preview.

    Thus you know what your company does NOT want you looking at. Like anything with “anna nicole smith” in the title name.

  9. I’ve been meaning to mention them, but hadn’t gotten around to it.

    I find them to be about 10% interesting, but 90% very annoying.

  10. htom says:

    Very annoying. There are several variations of this from different places, and they are all very annoying. (The first was cute for about thirty seconds.)

    Scott — yes, it shows blank if it can’t get the data, but it’s already tried to get the data, so your company knows you were trying to look there, even if you weren’t.

  11. bains says:

    I find them quite annoying – If I am curious where the link leads, I just look in the bottom pane of my browser.

    Yetanotherjohn, where did you find the feature to turn off all snap previews? Is is browser specific?

  12. Gollum says:

    It took a little adjusting (taking more care where the mouse goes) but at the end of the day I like them. One drawback when ‘snapping’ links *within* OTB is that your new format of having ads in the center column above the fold usually means that you can’t get a real snapshot of the linked page – – you just get the ads.

  13. Antonio says:

    they are not really that bad of an idea.

  14. Beldar says:

    (1) Very high on the coolness and eye-candy meters.

    (2) Very low on the actual utility meter, and potentially a drag on through-put and loading speed.

    (3) Very high on the annoying meter, once you realize that (2) above outweighs (1) above.

  15. John Burgess says:

    I found it got to be annoying quickly and turned it off (through the ‘options’ found when right-clicking on one of the pop-up windows).

  16. bains,

    Upper right hand corner of the pop up had the link for options. In there, it had two buttons (I think in the middle of the second pop up). One for disable this site, the other for disable all sites. I don’t know if the disable all is working because OTB was the only one with good enough content to justify wading through the annoying snaps.

  17. Rodney Dill says:

    It was slightly annoying, but I decided to give it a try before commenting. I did find it useful to check that the links were correct before I posted, but this is little benefit to people just browsing. Being able to turn it on would be useful, but the default should be off.