Netscape revs Communicator

Version 4.7 has a shopping button -- reflecting the e-commerce push by Netscape's new owner, America Online.

Netscape on Thursday released a new version of its Communicator browser that allows consumers to access a shopping portal with one click.

Communicator 4.7, currently available from Netscape's Web site, includes a Shop@Netscape button, a feature of Netscape parent America Online's program to expand its commerce plan across brands. The button will take users to a site that provides links to merchants, news and specials, and themed merchandising. New keyword technology also allows users to type "Shop" along with a category name like shoes into the URL locator, and be taken directly to that section of the Shop@Netscape page. The keyword technology is also used to help consumers look up stock quotes and perform searches.

AOL announced its Shop@AOL program earlier this year. The AOL site will formally launch with the release of version 5.0 of the AOL software next week. AOL said today that the number of AOL members who have shopped online has risen from 5.5 million in June of last year to 11 million in August of this year. And by adding the shop button to Communicator, the company hopes to make it even easier for consumers to do holiday shopping online this year.

The new version of Communicator also includes an updated version of Netscape Radio, which rebroadcasts content from the Spinner music site and provides links to artists and music groups through the Netscape Music section of Netcenter.

Netscape has also bundled WinAmp 2.5, a digital music player, with the new browser.