When you are looking for something specific online, you have to adopt the hit-and-trial approach. You visit many websites and download many files to see of they are the files that you are searching for. All of us use this method and we often end up having dozens of files on our computer before we finally download the file that we really wanted. However, if you do not want so many downloaded files, then you can use the Peek extension for your web browser.
Peek extension is available both for Firefox and Chrome. It allows you to take a peek at the documents or files before you start to download them. You have to simply hover the mouse pointer over the link of a file in the Google search results and Peek will display a preview of the file that the link is pointing towards.
You do not have to go around hovering your mouse cursor from one link to another to find out if any previews are available. Peek extension icon in the toolbar displays the number of previews that are possible from Google search results page. Of course, you have to hover over the links to find the previews.
Peek does not seem to work with DuckDuckGo search engine. We tried to use Peek with DuckDuckGo search engine but did not see any previews. Similarly, Peek does not work with insecure links (served over HTTP protocol). The reason for ignoring the insecure links is to avoid some suspicious links that could cause problem.
Peek uses Google Docs to show you previews. It can also use Microsoft Office Online to do the same. Whether you want to use Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online, you can decide from the Peek extension settings. There are no other options available for Peek.
Peek extension is useful for students or journalists who have to do a lot of research online and who do not want to download multiple documents or files first in order to find the right file. It works with all the file types supported by Google Docs such as document files (PDF, DOCX, TXT, XLSX, PPTX), video files (WEBM, MP4, GIFV, OGGV), audio files (MP3, WAV) and image files (JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, SVG) etc.
You can download Peek Extension for Firefox from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/peek-preview/.