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Take A Better View Of Your Photos With Photo Zoom For Facebook [Chrome]

fb photo zoomI will hedge my bets on Facebook and understanding its sometimes arcane privacy settings, but Facebook is one of the ways to share photos and videos privately with family members. It is definitely one of the reasons why mobile photography is so popular today.

That's why Facebook gradually brought in changes to the way we upload, view, and share photos. The Photo Viewer with the Lightbox (inspite of an unflattering welcome) has stayed on and grown on us. High-resolution photos are very welcome, thank you. The eight time increase in dimension has  made for a much richer experience. Though, it still hasn't made Facebook the hot destination for professional photographers, it's definitely better than the Facebook of old.

I like my photos, and that's why my Chrome packs extensions that make for a better photo experience. The latest Chrome extension to join the tribe is Photo Zoom for Facebook. Let me tell you why.

FB Photo Zoom – Is 2 Million Plus Downloads A Reason Enough?

The small fact that Photo Zoom for Facebook is on our Best Chrome Extensions page was just the first nudge. The statistical fact that it has racked up 2 million plus downloads on the Chrome Web Store was the shove. Frankly, that's quite a score for an extension that claims to be the best way to view photos on Facebook.

My preferred install before this extension came into my crosshairs was Hover Zoom. Hover Zoom helps to enlarge photos across lots of photo sites like DeviantArt, Pinterest, Flickr, and Facebook. Photo Zoom for Facebook as the name says is for Facebook alone. So, if you love viewing photos on a range of sites, I would say – plonk for Hover Zoom. But if your second home is Facebook, give Photo Zoom a try because it is specialized for the social network.

Built Specifically For Facebook

Photo Zoom for Facebook was earlier called FB Photo Zoom. It's the same deal if you used the earlier avatar, except in name. Now, you can also call it PZ4FB. The functionality is simple – hover your mouse over any image or thumbnail (for instance, the profile thumbnail) and the Chrome extension enlarges it for a better view. There is no right-clicking or clicking anywhere else…it is seamless and tightly integrated into your Facebook browsing experience.

fb photo zoom

Looking at images in their enlarged forms with just a mouse-over might not seem like a big deal at first. But try it out on a succession of images and you will get the point. It saves a heck of time. You don't have to click and open the images in another tab just to see the larger high-resolution versions. Photo zooming then and there is also productive if you have a slower connection.

Photo Zoom also fits the zoomed image perfectly on the browser page. The zoomed image is not cut-off at the edges and ends, and you get the photo in its full glory. Understandably, it blocks the page underneath, but the extension is so lightweight and speedy that you can mouse-over and mouse-out in a second. Photo Zoom has an option to enable or disable the caption underneath the photo in the zoomed view. I would recommend that you keep it on.

Going under the Extension's Hood – The Options

photo zoom

The above screenshot shows you all there is. You have to restart the browser to make any changes effective. You can't do it on the fly. It's better to keep the Zoomed Opacity to 100%…any less doesn't make any sense because why would you want to see an enlarged translucent image in the first place. It would have been a great feature if there was some way to change the opacity on the fly so that one could see the text underneath. But that's not possible here.

fb photo zoom

Keep in mind the shortcut keys to toggle the extension. The speed of the extension sometimes comes in the way as images enlarge in a split second and prevent you from reading content on the page. So, use the toggle shortcut to keep the extension subdued till you need it. You can also set the two modifier keys mentioned under the toggle control.

For some reason or because of Facebook's own, Disable Facebook's "Photo Theater" didn't work for me. I couldn't figure out the reason, so if it does work in your case do let the rest of know in the comments. If it's a bug, the developer can look into it.

A Simple Time Saving Chrome Extension

Photo Zoom for Facebook is a lightweight extension. Memory consumption is average…just on par with other popular extensions like Pocket and LastPass. Over a course of time, the time you save by not opening each image in Facebook's Photo Viewer or separate tab really adds up and then you will start appreciating the must-install angle of this extension.

Give FB Photo Zoom a hover and tell us if it will find a place on your Chrome extensions list. If not, do you have a better option?

Apple begins seeding first OS X 10.8.4 beta to testers, developers


Apple has begun seeding its next OS X Mountain Lion update, OS X 10.8.4, to AppleSeed testers. Apple will likely begin seeding this to registered OS X developers soon…

Apple does not specify what the update includes, but it is likely focused on bug fixes and performance improvements like most OS X maintenance releases. Apple asks developers to focus on WiFi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

The first 10.8.4 beta is build number 12E27. Apple released OS X 10.8.3 last month following multiple months of developer and outside testing.

Update: It has now been released for registered developers.

iOS 7 running behind, Apple pulling Mac OS 10.9 developers to get it delivered?

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 8.43.27 PMSome rumblings from Daring Fireball's John Gruber on a Branch thread this evening point to possible delays in iOS 7 and perhaps subsequently OS 10.9.

What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it.

As he points out, Apple had this problem/solution before. In 2007, Apple had to devote some Mac resources towards getting the iPhone out the door. The press statement at the time read:

"iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team. As a result, we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us.

However, the Wall Street Journal says:

Apple is also expected to ship the next version of its iOS mobile operating system around midyear, other people familiar with the matter have said.

MG Siegler adds:

Since we're talking whispers, the one thing I've heard multiple times now is about some sort of biometric scanner on the new iPhone. Perhaps not surprising given the AuthenTec buy — but surprised it would be this soon. Still, have heard it could be a big part of not only authentication, but payments of some sort (maybe even through Passbook) down the road. The most intriguing whisper: that Apple could charge a fee for devs to use it.

Gruber points out that Apple engineers carrying iOS have protective screens on them so it is hard to see the OS, something we've heard has been common practice for some time.

iPhone 5S Production to Start Soon, Release Set for Summer?

iPhone 5S Apple is set to start production of the next iPhone soon, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The new iPhone is said to be "similar in size and shape to its current one", which is consistent with rumors that have indicated the next iPhone release will be a "5S" model rather than a complete ground-up redesign.

Summer Release Possible

The report from the Wall Street Journal suggests the next iPhone may launch as soon as this summer. Summer 2013 officially begins on June 21 and ends on September 21, providing a fairly wide range for a possible release that is consistent with several past iPhone launches.

iPhone 5S Features?

Little is known about the next iPhone, but it's likely the model will follow the same trajectory of the iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S transition. Thus, a theoretical "iPhone 5S" would be likely to include significant internal component upgrades from the existing iPhone 5 model, including a faster processor with improved graphics handling, a better battery life, and a better camera offering sharper images at an increased megapixel size. The device is also likely to ship with iOS 7.

Color iPhone Models at Lower Cost?

Apple is also said to be working on a lower cost iPhone that may be released this year as well, according to the WSJ. The report indicates the cheaper iPhone model will probably use a different casing material than the existing higher end models built with aluminum unibody and glass, and the shell of the "less expensive" model may even include different colors.

Though not directly mentioned, multiple case colors on a lower-cost iPhone could be similar to that offered by the current iPod touch lineup, which is available in a rainbow of offerings.

iPod touch colors

Though product rumors should always be viewed with a certain degree of suspicion, The Wall Street Journal has a very strong track record with Apple reporting, rumors, and release schedules.