Netscape Communications released Netscape Communicator 4.5 this week, a major update to its integrated suite of Internet and communication tools. Communicator 4.5 includes numerous improvements to overall performance as well as enhancements to email and contact management (including template-based email and addressing assistance). In conjunction with Netscape’s servers, Communicator 4.5 also enables users to create customized home pages and filter Web content.
Communicator 4.5’s Web browser rolls in Netscape’s recently introduced Smart Browsing feature that bypasses the need to type in URLs that are "complex and difficult to remember." With the Internet Keywords feature of Smart Browsing activated (the default), each address you type is passed through Netscape’s keyword server. So, typing "powerbook" in the Address field takes you to the Apple home page (instead of Apple’s PowerBook page, which is what "www.powerbook.com" does); if there is no keyword match, Netscape offers a page of suggestions (with a banner ad, of course). Smart Browsing also features a What’s Related button that offers site suggestions based on the site you’re viewing. Communicator 4.5 adds Netscape AOL Instant Messenger (whether or not you specify it), the Shockwave Flash plug-in, RealNetworks’ RealPlayer client, and enhancements to the Messenger and Composer modules of Communicator. The full Communicator installer is available for PowerPC-based Macs only, and is a 13.9 MB download (regular and strong-encryption versions are available.) Netscape Navigator, the standalone Web browser component of Communicator, remains at version 4.07.