Netscape launched an enhanced version of its browser software last week, with the trial release of Communicator 4.5 . The browser lets users store personal e-mail, Web addresses and bookmark lists at the company’s Netcenter site. It is now possible for users to access their personal Web navigation lists and integrate them into their browser, even if they use a number of different computers to access the Web. Of course, the features also move traffic to Netscape’ s own site, increasing its popularity as a web “portal” or point of entry.
The new browser also lets the user type a keyword into the Web address line, and be sent to matching sites selected by Netscape. According to early user’s reports, the 1.5 million keyword links developed by Netscape default to corporate Web sites or sites supporting product brand names. If a user types in a generic term such as “autos”, he or she is sent to Netscape’s Netcenter auto channel. If a key word is not recognized, the user is sent to Netscape’s own search facility.
While these features might be of interest to some inexperienced web users, many people prefer to have more choice when it comes to navigating the net. According to Nscape, the new browser has more than 4000 changes to improve user experience, performance, and reliability. Improvements include interface enhancements, reduced download and install size, a new quality feedback system, and improved documentation. The beta version of the new browser is available for free download at the site below.