Visual 3-D browsing (April 2nd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: AT&T
- * Visual 3-D effects displays Web sites as thumbnail images.
- * Allows multiple home pages.
- * Supports meta tags for fast searching of bookmarks.
- * Visual tabbed browsing.
- * Only runs on Windows.
- * Search engine restricted to Google.
- * Requires a 256MB graphic card for optimum performance.
- * Can be confusing to learn.
AT&T is privately beta testing a new Mozilla-based browser called Pogo – and browsing the Web may never be the same again. Unlike rival browsers like Firefox or Opera, Pogo does not just add a few new slick features to the traditional browser user interface. Instead, Pogo brings a new 3-D look to browsing. Gone are the traditional tabs, submenus, and history lists of URL addresses displayed as plain, boring text. Replacing them in Pogo are thumbnail images so you can see which Web pages you have opened or previously viewed. Pogo doesn’t just improve browsing; it makes browsing visual and more fun to use.
Saving Multiple Home Pages
With most browsers, you define a home page that appears every time you load the browser. In Pogo, you can define one or more home pages grouped together in something called a Springboard. The Springboard lets you store one or more home pages so you can click on the one that you want.
For example, you might store one home page that contains your favorite search engine or news site, a second home page that contains the page to your Web-based email, a third home page that contains movie listings, and a fourth home page that contains a weather report for your area. By storing multiple home pages, Pogo doesn’t limit you to a single Web page and frees you from storing your favorite Web sites as bookmarks that you’ll frequently use anyway.
Pogo’s Springboard lets you store multiple home pages as thumbnail images
Replacing Tabbed Browsing
Nearly all browsers offer tabs so you can open multiple Web pages in different tabs and switch between them quickly and easily. The problem with tabs is that they only display a single line of text that lists the Web site name, but you can’t see the Web page contents until you click on that tab.
Pogo eliminates this problem by eliminating tabs altogether and replacing them with the Pogo Dock, which appears at the bottom of the screen. Each time you open a Web page, a thumbnail of that Web page appears in the Pogo Dock. Now you can see which Web pages are open and switch between Web pages just by clicking on the thumbnail image on the Pogo Dock.
To replace traditional tabbed browsing, the Pogo Dock displays thumbnail images of currently open Web pages
Bookmarking Web Sites
In a traditional browser, you can save favorite Web sites as a bookmark where each bookmark consists of the Web site name, such as CNN.com. Collect enough bookmarks and storing more obscure Web site names and soon you will start losing track of what type of Web page each bookmark represents. The only way to find out is by clicking on each bookmark and seeing what type of Web page appears.
To solve this problem, Pogo stores bookmarks in something called a Collection, which appears as a window that Pogo displays in a circular 3-D display that lets you view the name of each collection. One Collection might contain bookmarks to financial Web sites while another Collection might contain bookmarks to entertainment Web sites.
A Collection appears as a 3-D series of windows
Clicking on a Collection displays thumbnail images of all your actual bookmarked Web sites stored in that Collection. Now you can see what each bookmark represents before clicking on it.
Each Collection contains thumbnail images of your bookmarked Web sites
Browse through enough Web sites and you are sure to remember a Web page you’ve previously visited but can’t remember how to find again. With most browsers, you can view a history list of Web site names. With Pogo, you can view a visual history that not only displays thumbnail images of your previously viewed Web pages (so you can easily recognize them again), but also identifies the time and date you last viewed each particular Web page.
The Visual History feature displays previously viewed Web sites with a date and time
To help you browse through previously viewed Web sites, Pogo displays a slider that you can drag backwards or forwards to skim through past Web sites. For greater convenience, you can even define a time range. For example, if you only want to view your list of previously visited Web sites from a certain date, just type that specific date range (such as March 26, 2008 to April 1, 2008) and Pogo only displays Web sites you visited in that period.
Search and Find
Like most browsers, Pogo offers a search text box that lets you search Google right away. Unlike other browsers that allow you to choose which search engine the browser uses, Pogo only gives you Google. If you prefer another search engine, then you’ll have to access it yourself.
More interesting is Pogo’s ability to add tags to any Web site you have saved as a home page or bookmark. For example, type the tag “Stock” and Pogo displays a list showing all your saved Web sites related to news or information about the stock market.
Labeling Web sites with tags can help you find related information
As a beta product, Pogo is still a work in progress so it is likely that the final version may include additional features or provide improved speed. Currently, Pogo is not for everyone. Although based on the Mozilla source code, Pogo only runs on Windows, requires a 256MB graphics card, a 1.6GHz processor, DirectX version 9.0c, and 1GB of RAM for optimum performance.
Pogo checks your system to determine if it meets the minimum hardware requirements
Despite these rather hefty system requirements just to run a browser, Pogo can still run on systems with less than the optimum hardware requirements, although the program runs sluggishly at times.
More troublesome might be the nature of Pogo itself. It’s 3-D visual interface is a giant leap forward in browser features, yet this very nature can make the program seem initially confusing to use. Anyone familiar with traditional bookmarks and tabbed browsing can easily jump from Internet Explorer to Safari, Firefox, or Opera.
However, Pogo’s radical new design can require relearning. Despite this initial learning curve, take the time to try Pogo free when it finally reaches shipping status. Once you understand Pogo’s design, you may never want to use another browser again.