Back in January, Alex Iskold reviewed a number of 'web previews' tools - including Browster, Cooliris, Snap and Sphere. A couple of others are iReader and Blogrovr, although the latter is more about delivering content than previewing it. We've reviewed several of these web previews products before - e.g. see our post about iReader. Essentially all of these apps aim to save you clicks, by providing a preview of the web page behind a link. Sometimes this type of technology is intrusive, but a lot of times it is useful - because it allows you to check out a preview of the content without clicking through. Indeed a month or so ago we implemented Snap previews on Read/WriteWeb, and I myself regularly use it to preview the blogs of commenters (for example).

So now Interclue has joined what is a reasonably crowded market - and as yet a market where there is little evidence of profitablity. Browster has already bitten the dust. So what makes Interclue different? Like iReader it is a browser add-on that provides more information about a link, including a text summary of the content. Here is an example:

Interclue is very nicely implemented and it doesn't interfere with my browsing. By default you have to hover over or click the little icon to the right of the link to see the content preview, which is much better (in my view) than automatically popping it up when the user passes their mouse over the link. You can modify this behavior, including hover time. Also there is a lot of handy information packed into the previews - a useful text summary, plus some stats about the web page. It also has a del.icio.us tagcloud and digg count, two very nifty features for web 2.0 savvy users.

The current service is free, but CEO Seth Wagoner says there will be a premium subscription based service too. He says it will make Interclue "3-5 times faster and bring you even more clues per pixel."

Check out the Interclue blog for more info, but also try it out and see what you think. Overall I'm definitely impressed with the implementation of web previews in Interclue, but - as with its competition - it remains to be seen if Interclue gets a steady revenue stream. It is a handy tool, but is it one users will pay for?

A final note, this is a web app that hails from New Zealand (where I live). Nice to see web 2.0 startups beginning to pop up here - there are others I have my eye on too.