Andreessen says Communicator will manage the info deluge

Hoping to lighten the increasingly heavy load of information coming across both users' desktops and corporate servers, Netscape will deliver a 'component system server' in the next version of its Communicator Web client either late this year or early 1998. Marc Andreessen says it is vital that users are given the ability to track and manage the flood information that comes to them over networks.

Hoping to lighten the increasingly heavy load of information coming across both users' desktops and corporate servers, Netscape will deliver a "component system server" in the next version of its Communicator Web client either late this year or early 1998.

The product will give users a more efficient way of tracking and filtering information contained in a variety of email systems connected both to their intranets and the Internet, said Marc Andreessen, senior vice president of technology and co-founder of Netscape, in a keynote speech at the Corporate Computing and Networking Expo, commonly known as CAMP.

"There is a huge information overload facing users today. It is going to force a change in the way they track down information that they really need, that is relevant to doing their jobs," Andreessen said.

With an increasing number of corporate users doing business-to-business exchanges over extranets as well as the Internet, there is a growing need to better manage the flow of this data from central locations. Because of this, Andreessen said Netscape will be strongly focused this year on developing "a single global directory."

"This [single global directory] will make it easier for a company to connect with all of their business partners suppliers and customers," Andreessen said.

Andreessen, however, did not say when such a capability would be ready or whether it would ship as a stand-alone or add-on product to the company's existing lineup.

As part of the keynote, Netscape officials demonstrated the beta version of the Constellation component of Communicator, showing off a "Webtop" that can be controlled and managed centrally by an IS department.

A Webtop is the idea of seamlessly merging content from a variety of push technologies with information users have stored in their typical desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office. As an example of a possible Webtop, Netscape officials said users could walk up to a kiosk in a travel agency and, by dragging and dropping information from the Internet and local information at the travel agency, can create their own customized packet of travel information.

Netscape Communications Corp., in Mountain View, California, is at http://home.netscape.com/.

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