WebSaver is simple in concept: it allows you to set a series of websites as your screen saver. You need only enter a few URLs and it will automatically load a fullscreen page and cycle between your various sites.
Today we’ll look at how to set it up, what some of the various options are and our ultimate impressions regarding the software.
Once you download WebSaver, simply double click the screen saver file to install it. Then open up “Desktop and Screen Saver” inside System Preferences.
From here you can access all your screen savers and their respective settings, just make sure you have the “Screen Saver” tab selected, not the “Desktop” tab.
Under the “Other” heading on the far left, select the WebSaver screen saver. A preview should pop up in that little window of the screen saver with its default settings. Click on “Options” to customize these settings.
After you click the settings button, you’ll be given the window below. Here you can add and remove sites, activate and deactivate sites, and set every site’s time interval.
To add a new site to your screen saver, simply paste the URL into the field on the bottom of the window and hit the little plus button. Likewise, to remove a site, just select it from the list and hit the minus button.
The little checkboxes next to the list of sites allow you to turn sites on and off. This is a nice feature because you can keep a large list of sites handy without being forced to have them all activated at once.
To set the time interval of a given site, click the text under the “Duration” column on the right. You can choose from a number of option ranging from ten seconds to ten minutes.
Once you have some sites queued, click “Test” to see the screen saver in action. It should automatically load your pages and set the to a fullscreen view.
You can also set it so that when a Youtube or Vimeo video is called up, it will automatically display the fullscreen player. All of these settings seemed to function just fine. I especially like that you can control the font size and dim websites to be a bit easier on your screen and eyes.
Just in case you can’t think of any sites to include, the developers have created a list of suggestions. There are various categories to choose from for videos, magazines, etc. All you have to do is find a site that looks interesting and click the “add” button.
It’s really helpful that they’ve included some suggestions, but what I would’ve like to see here is something a little more automated. For instance, under the most popular Youtube videos, you can add specific Youtube videos to play every time the screen saver loads. However, it would be nice to be able to just tell WebSaver to load something random from Youtube’s current most popular list every time the screen saver starts.
Does It Work?
For the most part, WebSaver does exactly what the developer says it does. It’s a great idea and really opens up your choices for custom screen savers. Suddenly anything and everything you find on the web can become your new screensaver! I definitely enjoyed playing with the software and will continue to use it. If you’re always on the lookout for a cool new screen saver, I think WebSaver is well worth the $5.
The one thing that I couldn’t get to work was the auto-login feature. The developer claims that if you simply sign onto services like Facebook, Twitter and Gmail in Safari, you’ll be logged in for WebSaver as well. However, I simply didn’t find this to be true (maybe it doesn’t work with Safari 5?).
As a work around, I found that you can actually login straight from the screen saver. Just use your keyboard to tab to the appropriate field and type in your username and password. If you touch the mouse, the screen saver will quit but the keyboard doesn’t seem to have the same effect.
WebSaver is fairly basic at the moment but the developers promise that new features are on the way. Here’s my list of features that I feel should be added before the app can really feel nice and polished.
Right now the sites abruptly change from one to the next. It would be nice to have a few options for fades and swipes to make the switch more attractive.
Unfortunately, you’re stuck looking at the top of whatever website you’re on. Implementing an adjustable auto-scroll would increase the functionality by allowing you to see the entire page.
Currently, if you add an RSS feed to WebSaver, it will quit the screen saver and open the feed in Safari. Many RSS feeds are constantly updating and therefore feel like a perfect fit for WebSaver, especially if they were used in conjunction with the auto-scroll suggestion above!
You can either let the websites load in the order you entered them or set them to load in a random order. However, there’s no way to manually reorder your list without deleting and re-entering sites.
Allow Mouse Behavior
This one is arguable but I can see a need for allowing mouse behavior without killing the screen saver. There could be an optional setting that allows both keyboard and mouse input and will only deactivate the screen saver if you press the “esc” key. This would let you scroll, login easier, and interact with some sites if you want to. Granted, the idea of a screen saver is something that pops up when you’re not using the computer but I still think it’s a valid feature idea.
Get it Free!
You can currently download and use WebSaver for as long as you want without paying a cent, you’ll just be limited to four websites and the settings tab will be disabled.
You can also check out another completely free version here. This one limits you to one site at a time but can use your MacBook’s motion sensor to navigate the page (a really bizarre feature).
To sum up, WebSaver is an easy and extremely affordable way to display multiple websites and videos as a screen saver on your Mac. You can create and manage a list of sites and customize various settings such as font size and brightness.
WebSaver works fairly well but needs keychain integration to handle logins and could use a more robust feature set overall.
WebSaver allows you to easily create custom screen savers from websites and videos. Adding sites is as easy as pasting in the URL. You can also tweak a few settings like brightness, font size and Flash disabling. WebSaver works fairly well and is quite affordable. However, there is definitely some room for improvement in the form of additional features.7