updated 11:15 am EDT, Tue June 24, 2008
Firstl Look: Pogo browser
No matter what type of browser you use, the features among all browsers tend to be the same. Every browser can save a homepage, bookmark frequently-visited sites, and display a list of previously viewed pages. Most browsers also display the same flat, 2D interface. What makes the Pogo browser unique, of course, is that it offers a more visually appealing 3D interface.
Instead of saving a single website as a homepage, Pogo lets you save multiple sites through a feature called the Springboard. Using this you can save two or more of your favorite sites, which appear as thumbnail images on-screen. After opening the Springboard, you can browse through thumbnails and double-click on the page you want to see.
Multiple homepages let you quickly scan the web for important updates. You can assign one to news for instance, and another to your political organization. Since your life can't be condensed into a single focus, Springboard gives you the flexibility to take in multiple information streams.
To store favorite sites, most browsers use bookmarks, organized into folders of related collections. Gather enough bookmarks and pretty soon you'll wind up browsing through layers of menus and sub-menus until you find what you want.
Pogo takes a different approach. Instead of displaying folders as sub-menus, it stores them as windows that appear in a three-dimensional circle. This lets you rapidly scan categories, like glancing at playing cards spread out in a fan.
Double-clicking on a window displays a thumbnail list of all your stored bookmarks, in rows and columns. Double-click on a thumbnail, and the corresponding page pops up on your screen.
Rather than rely on bookmarks, some people prefer browsing through a history list that tracks their most recently viewed pages. Unfortunately, most browsers display this list as a list of headings in a pull-down menu. If you don't recognize the heading of a particular page, you might not know what it contains.
To avoid possible trial-and-error browsing, Pogo once again displays each page as a thumbnail, here stacked one after another like a row of dominoes. By glancing at this visual history list, you can quite easily identify the content of each link.
With most browsers, you can open two or more pages at time, which appear organized in a tabbed interface. Each tab contains a page's heading, but reading the text on a tab won't always describe what's in it. To avoid this problem, Pogo dumps tabs and replaces them with cells, which appear as thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. By browsing cells, you can easily recognize which pages you have open and choose the one you want.
Instead of a tabbed interface, multiple open pages appear as cells in a dock
The program is still being offered as an invitation-only free beta. AT&T has however provided a special code for MacNN, good for up to 500 invites: v2QDtR5w. To use this code, visit the Pogo site and look for a section entitled "I've Been Invited."
Compared with an earlier version of the program, AT&T has optimized code to cut system requirements nearly in half. It still requires a 1.0GHz processor though, along with 1GB of RAM and a separate graphics card with at least 128MB of RAM. As Pogo is so graphically-oriented, it tends to run far slower than competing browsers. More limiting is that the browser currently only runs on Windows XP or Vista.
Despite its hefty requirements and Windows-only orientation, Pogo's 3D interface does make web browsing more intuitive. You may not want to replace your current browser, but after using Pogo, you'll see where the future of browsers may be headed.