AOL updates Netscape browser

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AOL updates Netscape browser

A new version of the Netscape browser with a tweaked interface and an upgraded e-mail program has been released by AOL Time Warner (AOLTW) subsidiary Netscape Communications.

Netscape 7.0 adds a handful of new features and branding linking the browser to other products and content from AOLTW's portfolio.

The update adds support for tabbed browsing, a feature proving popular in the Mozilla browser that launches links in a new tab rather than a separate window, and brings slight changes to Netscape Mail, such as simplified mail filters. The new Netscape also tightens integration between the browser and related products, introducing a standalone Net radio client and adding built-in access to AOL's ICQ instant messaging client and support for more features of AOL Instant Messenger. A new toolbar offers users content from AOLTW publications, a move in line with AOL's stated strategy of making Netscape a "cross-promotional engine" connecting its properties.

The release follows a study from Internet research company WebSideStory that reports Netscape's market share has dwindled to 3.4%, a sharp drop from the 13% share it held a year ago. Microsoft's Internet Explorer now dominates the industry, with a 96% market share, the research firm said.

AOLTW cites Netscape as a significant factor in the 50% traffic increase it has seen in the past year to its network of Web sites. Traffic to Netscape.com has grown 20% year-on-year, with 21 million unique visitors visiting the site in July, according to the company.

The new release version of Netscape can be downloaded at http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers.

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