Netscape releases preview of browser upgrade

Netscape Communication Corp. last week made available a preview version of an upcoming Web browser upgrade that's expected to address various problems associated with the Netscape 6.0 software released by the AOL Time Warner Inc. subsidiary last fall.

"When Netscape announced, after much fanfare, its 6.0 browser, people were disappointed," said Chris Le Tocq, an analyst at Guernsey Research in Los Altos, Calif. "There were bugs and performance [issues]. It was much ballyhooed and fell substantially short."

Netscape spokeswoman Catherine Corre said the new Netscape 6.1 browser is being designed to enhance performance and stability, as well as to provide some additional features for improved efficiency, security and configuration flexibility.

For instance, Corre said, a new feature called My Sidebar will let users customize tabs on the left-hand side of the browser, while a history tab will help them find Web pages they'd previously visited. A cookie management tool is also being added to help users choose which Web sites can set cookies and which will be blocked from doing that, she added.

Users also will be able to view and delete cookies with the new tool, according to Corre. In addition, the upgrade will include the ability to set a "master password" meant to ensure that people who have access to someone else's computer can't get at saved passwords or use them to find personal information on the Web.

The final version of Netscape 6.1 is due out this summer and will be followed by another release that will include more enterprise-oriented features, such as support for the Lightweight Directory Access protocol, Corre said. But a shipment date hasn't been set for the latter upgrade, which also hasn't been named yet, she added.