Technology

A (Web) Room With a View


By Matthew Newton Most Web browsers display one Web page at a time. Users often resort to opening clumsy, multiple windows to conduct research, test a Web project, and so forth. Browse3D takes a different approach.

This Internet Explorer add-on displays a virtual room. On the "wall" in front of you is a Web page of your choice. On your left hang snapshots of other pages you've visited--a visual representation of your browser's History feature. Clicking Browse3D's Pan Left button turns the view toward these snapshots; you can pop any of the pages back to the center wall (where you actually browse) with a double-click.

With its Auto Crawl function on, Browse3D grabs links from the current page and loads them into snapshots on the right wall. To explore an unfamiliar Web site, set Auto Crawl loose, and then pan right to see what it has found.

Without Auto Crawl, you manually select pages to populate the right wall. Need to store the set of pages you're working with? After filling the wall, you can save it. Later, load your saved wall, and the pages pop back into place.

There are a few minor annoyances. The left wall fails to ignore error pages. Site icons are not shown in the Favorites menu as in other browsers. Browse3D can bog down when Auto Crawl is on, and its pop-up window suppression sometimes generates JavaScript errors.

I found the visual metaphor comfortable, but I couldn't get used to it for everyday use. Still, if you work with multiple windows or feel lost on the Web, Browse3D could help you keep your bearings. From the May 2002 issue of PC World magazine


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