US Report - Barksdale shows off the future of Netscape

Netscape Communications CEO Jim Barksdale showed off some upcoming features of Netcentre that he said would make it the No. 1 portal site by the year 2000.

Barksdale unveiled a feature called Custom Netcentre, which lets businesses tailor the underlying architecture of "My Netscape" to their business needs. He said businesses could use the feature to create public or private portals to provide information to partners and customers.

"Portals are a vital part now of the Net economy," Barksdale told an audience last week at the Internet World trade show in the US. Netscape is in a race with Yahoo!, Microsoft, Lycos and others to become a leading portal, the place where users go when they first jump on the Web. Among the things Barksdale showed off were features that will be added to My Netscape in the coming months. The new features will let people send and receive e-mail from any computer by simply logging on to their personalised site. Users can also send a message directly from their address book simply by clicking on a name.

Barksdale told the audience that "personalisation is the centrepiece" of the Internet. "The Net is about to deliver on its original promise," Barksdale said, referring to the ability to provide a customised experience to each individual user. In addition, Barksdale predicted the Web would evolve from a few major portals into hundreds of customised portals.