Netscape is readying an interim version of its Communicator suite that will bridge the gap between the current version and Communicator 5.0, which is due late this year. Netscape Communicator 4.5, which will be reportedly announced on Wednesday, includes several new "Smart Browsing" features that are designed to let the browser work more closely with the company's NetCenter Web site. An "Internet Keywords" feature, for example, lets users type a keyword directly into the Address edit box in the browser to initiate a search. If the search word is too vague, the browser will direct the user to NetCenter's search channel for more advanced searching.

A second feature, "What's Related," automatically generates lists of links that are related to the Web site that's currently loaded into the browser. A set of tools called NetWatch is also included; NetWatch filters sites based on personalized settings that can include RSACi and SafeSurf content screening.

Aside from the "Smart Browsing" features, Netscape is also improving its support for LDAP directories and the IMAP email protocol. A new roaming feature makes it easy for mobile workers to browse offline