Netscape 8 Released and Reviewed
Netscape released their latest browser today, version 8.0. It has been touted as the anti-phishing browser because of many of the features it contains that are aimed at preventing people for falling for these attempts at aquiring personal information.
The Netscape site is getting hammered right now (i guess) so I have linked directly to the download page below.
Now for my first impressions.
After waiting for their site to catch up to all the traffic they are getting, I finally downloaded the installer. No, wait, that wasn’t the installer. It was just an installer that downloads the installer for you. While that was running, you are led through a few customization options. You can use either their new, ugly theme called “fusion” or you can select one that looks a little more normal. You are asked for your zip code and offered the chance to have some spyware…um, I mean, add-ons included with the browser (desktop weather, etc.).
So, the browser finally gets installed, and I click the icon on my desktop to fire it up. No, I don’t want to make it my default browser and off it goes. Immediately upon launching, it opens about 7 or 8 tabs. The first two are the Netscape Homepage and a page with Version 8 information on it. But after that, it opens about 5 tabs, all containing the Netscape weather page.
Immediately after attemption to load all these pages at once, it crashes, giving me the dialog box to send a notice to Microsoft.
Since this is supposed to be the anti-phishing browser, I decided to give it a whirl. I get at least 5 requests every day asking me to update my paypal information. So I decide to do just that. I head to my gmail account, open my spam folder, find the latest “PayPal Update” e-mail, and click the link inside. Expecting to see something that tells me this site is a fake or phony, all I get is this.
See the difference? The tab on the left is the actual PayPal login form, the tab on the right is the phishing page. Apparently all that tells me this page is fake is the “shield” in the tab. The official page is green with a check mark, the un-official page is blue with a “…” in it. How should I know what that means? There was no “first time notice” or anything telling me that the blue sheild is an un-protected site. Apparently, their warning system for phishing scams is based on a list of sites that they keep updated. When you launch a page, it is checked against this list.
One other thing I noticed is that when I logged into my Gmail account, it seemed like I was offered three prompts in the process of asking my if I wanted to save my username and password. Why so many? Why not just give me a simple dialog that asks if I want to save it?
Without the “fusion” theme, the browser looks very similar to Firefox.
All in all, I think the browser is still suffering from too much fluff. It will probably stay on my machine for testing purposes, but I doubt it will get much more use than that.