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Browse 3D portrays dynamics of browsing

Jul 07, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Browse 3D offers unique graphical metaphor for the browsing sequence you follow

First, I want to thank everyone who wrote in to point out that Mozilla Firebird (covered a couple of newsletters ago – see links below) wasn’t the first browser to have pop up blocking built-in. That honor goes to Netscape’s Mozilla browser. Several readers also pointed out that Opera provides the same feature, as does the Linux KDE Konqueror browser. You all get 200 points except for the guy who seemed to think that being rude was in order – he loses 200 points.

Today, I want to talk about a new browser interface for Microsoft Internet Explorer called Browse 3D from Browse 3D.

Browse 3D provides a unique graphical metaphor for the browsing sequence you follow. The default presentation shows a browser pane on a “wall” straight ahead of you and the edges of walls to your left and right. Click on the side walls and they swing into view to show either the pages you’ve visited (on the left divided into six subpanels) or the pages you could visit (on the right divided into four subpanels). All the subpanels can be updated – in other words they aren’t static thumbnails, they are live browser windows that even observe refresh tags.

The right-hand pane is populated by Browse 3D following the links on the current page. In the current release (1.7.1 beta) this can cause a noticeable pause in operation.

You can go backwards and forwards in the left and right panes and zoom to full screen by selecting a single subpanel. You can navigate in the subpanel but the other panels aren’t affected. Double click on a subpanel to the left or right and it replaces the contents in the main panel.

You can also zoom out the whole user interface to show all three panels. There’s also a “sticky panel” where selected Web pages can be “stuck” for later browsing.

Browse 3D requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or later, DirectX 7.0, 8M-byte video card set to 1,024-by-768, 16-bit color, and full hardware acceleration. Note that the color depth cited is not the minimum. On my system I couldn’t get Browse 3D to work at higher or lower color depths – it just crashed inelegantly (why not check the color depth and announce an error if it isn’t what is wanted?).

Browse 3D is available for download on a 30-day free trial and available for purchase at $29.95.

Browse 3D is interesting and an appealing way of portraying the dynamics of browsing. So let me ask you: Do you think this kind of metaphor has any place for practical consumer or corporate use? Have you tried this tool out on your users? I look forward to your thoughts.

P.S. It also offers pop up blocking and that isn’t a first.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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