Expansive Communicator 4.5 Limited to PowerPC Only — Netscape Communications released Netscape Communicator 4.5 last week, a major update to the integrated suite of Internet software. Communicator 4.5 includes numerous performance improvements 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 includes Netscape’s recently introduced Smart Browsing feature that obviates the need to type in "complex and difficult to remember" URLs. With the Internet Keywords feature of Smart Browsing activated (as it is by default), each address you type passes through Netscape’s keyword server (disable the feature if you’re concerned about privacy issues). 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 includes the 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 only for PowerPC-based Macs 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. [JLC]