Netscape releases new version

Netscape has released another version of its Communicator package this week, to generally favourable reviews. Netscape, which is now a division of America Online, says that the new version 4.6 is the “smartest and fastest” net browser available.

Those claims remain to be proven, especially in light of the fact that Netscape will release a full new version 5.0 later this year that will offer a complete overhaul of the browser. In the meantime, the 4.6 version does offer some significant improvements to users.

Among them are a claim to fewer crashes, something that has plagued users of the previous version 4.5 since it was released. That software had built-in “bug-report” screens that users could email to Netscape, and the company says it has incorporated hundreds of “fixes” from this data.

Highlights of the new versions include Netscape’s “SmartBrowsing” which lets you quickly and easily find Netcenter listings and services such as local dining, movies, weather, and sports. The updated software also gives you the RealNetworks’ RealPlayer G2 streaming media player.

If you’re already using the 4.5 version, you can download 4.6 easily with the “Smart Update” featurehat lets you avoid the long wait of the full 15 MB download.

The general consensus on the new version: if you have Netscape 4.x on your machine, it’s worth a download. Otherwise, wait until the full new version 5.0 is out later this year for a completely new version.