RealTime IT News

Netscape Finally Launches Netscape 6 Browser

Those awaiting the long-anticipated Netscape 6 browser can rush to the site for a free download at Netscape Communications' site.

The buzz about this release, which had been pushed back several times over the past two years, is that it is based on an open source model in the small but powerful Gecko engine -- anyone can access its code.

As with most new versions, it has upgraded its features, specifically Netscape Navigator, Netscape Mail, Netscape Instant Messenger powered by AOL Instant Messenger and Netscape Composer.

Its main thrust is personalization -- Netscape has added hundreds of customized tabs on a new feature called "My Sidebar" and users can manipulate multiple e-mail accounts. Users can read the news, set up custom stock portfolios and listen to music by choosing from among more than 600 different tabs from Netscape and parties such as CNN, Reuters News, Red Herring, The Weather Channel and eBay.

There is also a themes section where users can deeply customize the look of Netscape 6 by selecting a style and appearance for their browser that matches their personality. Users can pick the classic theme similar to the familiar Netscape Communicator interface, or switch to a new modern theme that Netscape ships as the default look.

They may also choose from a growing number of new themes that developers and companies are creating to best suit different customer needs which will be available from the new "Theme Park" site at Netscape.com.

Jim Martin, senior vice president and general manager at Netscape, said he believed his company's new product was much improved because of its customization, something customers said they wanted.

The version will also host localized versions overseas -- in UK, France, Germany and Japan.

The launch also featured a key branding agreement as voice serivces provider Net2Phone is fully integrated in the browser with a Net2Phone button directly on the toolbar, allowing users to make phone calls using Net2Phone directly from their browser.

Coollogic Inc., which develops and markets embedded operating systems and server-based software solutions for Internet appliance networks, issued the following statement about Netscape 6:

"The Netscape 6 browser is cleaner, looks nicer and fixes some of the problems inherent in Netscape version 4.75, like pull downs and dhtml however, technologically, it is still disappointingly big."

And any people with thoughts about a browser war with Microsoft can forget it, according to WebSideStory's StatMarket, which noted his week that Microsoft's Internet Explorer currently captures 87.53 percent of the market share compared to Netscape's 12.44 percent.

A detailed review of what's hot and what's not about the product upgrade can be found on Internet.com afiliate CWSApps.