OmniWeb 5.0 Previewed at Macworld

Omni Group, maker of the OmniWeb Web browser for Mac OS X is previewing version 5.0 of its wares at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco this week.

Changes in store for Mac users include: upgraded bookmarks, history, search shortcuts, AutoFill, revamped browser preferences, and an entirely new system of tabs. A public beta is due out February 2.

OmniWeb uses Rendezvous to permit users to share bookmarks with other users on the same local area network. Bookmark "collections" display a listing of all available Web servers on a LAN, and filtered views of the most visited sites that tell whether or not a particular site has been updated since a user's last visit.

Version 5.0 features "News Feed" bookmarks that display XML/RSS encoded headlines directly into the browser. Omni Group has also embedded a search field into the bookmarks interface. The browser's search shortcuts have additionally seen improvement.

Another major change is how customizable the browser can become. Site preferences can now be set on a per site basis, to allow different sites to be reviewed in different ways.

Site viewing is drastically changed with the addition of a tab system. Tabs, which are included in many recent browsers such as Mozilla and Safari, help users navigate multiple Web pages within the same window.

OmniWeb's take on tabs involves creating thumbnails of each page, and includes drag and drop capabilities to organize sites with a "drawer." When the drawer is largely occupied, a list view is an alterative to the graphical interface.

OmniWeb's new Workspaces feature is intended to satisfy the scenario where a user may have many Web pages left to view, but need to restart their computer. Rather than load each page individually upon the start of a new session, workspaces store relevant information such as what sites occupy tabs, the history and even window locations. A snapshot can be taken of a workspace to modify preferences, and workplace files can be e-mailed to and shared with other users.

OmniWeb 5.0 is priced at $29.95 USD with an upgrade cost of $9.95 USD. Purchases of legacy releases from December 2003 and later make customers eligible for a free upgrade.

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