Browster 1.0

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Browster 1.0
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Bottom Line

An interesting and useful tool that is all the more valuable because it is free.

Would you buy this?

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No matter how fast search engines get we always want them to be faster. Browster's eponymous product addresses the issue of accelerating searching not at the server end but at the browser.

As soon as research results come back, Browster starts prefetching - following each link on the search results pages and caching the contents. As Browster does so, it adds an icon next to each search result: a blue square if the target content isn't yet fetched or a blue square overlaid with a lightning bolt if it is available.

Mouse over both types of icon and a display frame, the Browster LookAhead window, appears and immediately loads the content found on the link (if the content was successfully prefetched the load time is much shorter). Click on a link in the frame and the frame will load that new content. Move your mouse away and the frame disappears.

The only problem I found was when you mouse over a prefetch icon that relates to a PDF or other non-HTML content Browster will begin to download the file if your PC is configured to automatically do so. It would be nice to have content auto-load disabled in Browster so it doesn't slow down your searching.

Browster can also speed browsing of regular Web sites: When you are on a Web page not returned by a search engine you can hold down the Alt key and as you mouse over a link Browster will prefetch the page.

Browster has an area at the top of the display frame that display ads used for what Browster calls "pay for performance marketing." What this means is that the ads are related to the page contents making them theoretically more relevant and therefore more valuable to the advertiser.

Browster currently works with only Internet Explorer under Windows (support for Mozilla Firefox is planned) and is optimized for Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL search, eBay, and Yahoo Auctions - on these sites page previews will appear faster.

An interesting and useful tool that is all the more valuable because it is free.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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