New Netscape browser makes debut

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - Reminding everyone that it's still in the browser game, Netscape has released a beta version of Netscape Navigator 9.0.

While the slate of new features brings ideas not seen in mainstream browsers, Netscape's abominably low position in the market makes it unlikely to affect Firefox or Internet Explorer.

In addition to a visual update, Netscape 9 has a URL correction feature that automatically corrects typos of common websites.  It also has a handful of new sidebars, including one that shows the latest news from Netscape.com and a secondary bookmarks list.  

There's also a "mini browser" sidebar that lets users essentially have a picture-in-picture browsing experience.  Finally, the friends' activity sidebar lets users share comments and website recommendations.

Additionally, opening a new tab gives the new page the same session history as the original page, so users can scroll back and forward to websites even after opening a new tab.

Navigator 9 also lets users shift the size of embedded text boxes in web pages.  Some of the other minor additions are the merging on the stop and reload buttons (since users never need both at the same time), an in-browser notification when new Netscape.com sitemail messages are available, and support for OPML bookmarks.

Just as notable is the shared architecture with Mozilla, allowing Netscape 9 users to use the same add-ons as those in Firefox 2.