Local News

Netscape Edges Out in Front With New Web Browser

Posted July 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— If you surf the net, you probably use what's called a "web browser" from Microsoft or Netscape. The battle continues between the two companies over which will offer more features and be number one. But Netscape may have edged out in front with one of its newest innovations.

The Communicator download is free from Netscape's site but it's a trial. The real thing costs about $30. Communicator is a powerful tool offering users not only web browsing, but almost any tool you need to work on the net.

"It's beyond just tools like a toaster or a microwave," says Karen Bluestein of Ventana Communications Group. "It's really a sense of community and the way to get specific information that you may be looking for.

Search engines are a click away and you can customize them. E-mail and newsgroups come up in a personal message center. Want to make your own web page? Bring up "composer", a wizard, and follow the simple instructions. You get Navigator 4.01, the newest version which is fast and has new features.

Communicator and Navigator have a different look and plenty of toolbar buttons. You can also get Netcaster. Choose for yourself sites you want to visit and they're automatically updated.

"It's almost like pre-setting certain TV channels that you want to see," says Bluestein, who oversees publications about Netscape.

Set up is easy. If you're online a lot and want to keep up with what's going on this is a cool way to do it. Even if you really like your Microsoft Internet Explorer, downloading Communicator and having a little fun with it is worth the time.

A new edition of Internet Explorer, also called 4.01, is due to go public soon. This browser battle is a donneybrook with huge money as stake. Netscape leads now, but some observers say they'll lose unless they begin giving their products away free, like Microsoft does.