Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cruise Control Netscape, Microsoft Unveil Web Browsers to Simplify Internet Trips

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cruise Control Netscape, Microsoft Unveil Web Browsers to Simplify Internet Trips

Article excerpt

In moves that could dramatically alter the way people cruise the Internet and manage their computer files, Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp. are reworking their browser software for companies and consumers.

Next week, Microsoft plans to unveil a test copy of its Internet Explorer 4.0, a new browser version that turns the computer screen into a viewfinder for both the Internet and information stored in a user's personal computer.

Icons for everything from desktop files to far-flung Web pages are given the same prominence on the computer screen, blurring today's distinction between the Internet and a user's desktop PC. The program also is a launchpad for exchanging electronic mail and video conferencing. Netscape, the largest maker of Internet browser software, announced plans Monday for a similar all-in-one program next year. Code-named Mercury, it's targeted at corporations whose computers are linked through private Internets, known as intranets. Both companies also are including technology to address a frequent complaint of Cyberspacers - too much Internet information. Mountain View, Calif.-based Netscape's next generation of software incorporates so-called "push" technology - sending tailored information directly to one's desktop so that users don't have to search for what they need. The software focuses on "extranets" - private Internet connections between companies. Netscape said its new software will allow corporate customers, for example, to search a supplier's inventory for new items. Netscape plans to release a program, code-named Constellation, later this year that would bring the push technology to both consumer and corporate browser users. And Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., is busy integrating several push features into Internet Explorer 4.0. The combination of push technology and all-in-one browsers that act as desktops promises to shape the port of entry for millions of users into a world of customized news and other requested information. …

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