The new Netscape Navigator takes a Firefox foundation, some neat Sidebar innovations, and an inside track to the Netscape.com social-networking and news site to create a browser that has some great features with minimal wonkiness.
Netscape.com is a huge part of the new Navigator: some new features might not be of interest if you don’t hang out there. The Share button inside the address bar connects you directly to Netscape.com. Highlight content from the page and hit Share. The content becomes a summary, in a box that just needs a few tags to be submitted to the collective. Already-posted articles show Vote and Discuss icons instead of Share.
Bookmarks and History are self-explanatory sidebars, but a series of Netscape.com-related ones work well, too. Netscape Friends’ Activity shows you what your friends have been doing, Netscape Tracker tracks the latest site updates, and Netscape News tracks only news posts. Non-Netscape.com users–a small, rebellious group, no doubt–will appreciate the Mini-Browser sidebar, which is essentially two tabs opened simultaneously, and the Link Pad, a savable URL notepad. Drag-and-drop adds a URL, clicking on the saved link opens it in a new tab. This is one of Navigator’s new tricks that we love, but wish had more traditional notepad functionality. All Sidebar features have toolbar icons that you can add at will.
Most of the bundled features from version 8 have been removed. IE mode, integrated AOL IM, RSS reader, form filler, and security suite are gone, but the compatibility with Firefox 2 extensions and LinkPad more than make up for the loss. The innovations here might make this more than a backup browser.