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Communicator buddies with AOL

Netscape's Communicator 4.04, an update to its client software bundle, will let users communicate directly with designated AOL buddies.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) will post an updated Communicator client software bundle to its Web site this week.

The update adds messaging services from America Online and additional encryption support, according to the company.

As reported on October 14 by CNET'S NEWS.COM, the Communicator update will include AOL's Instant Messenger service that will alert Navigator or Communicator users when someone on their specified list of "buddies" is also online. The software also will let them communicate directly with designated buddies.

AOL's buddy list, which lets users chat online when they are signed on, has been an extremely popular feature for the online service. More than 130 million "buddy" messages are sent every day, according to the company. AOL has been beta testing an Internet version of its buddy list service since the spring--the same technology that will be built into Netscape's software.

The browser update also includes support for Fortezza II, a security technology based on U.S. government standard cryptography. This gives Communicator client and server products boosted user authentication and data encryption while meeting the specific customer needs of the U.S. government market, the company said.

In addition, Communicator 4.04 includes faster Java initialization, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) classes that have been updated for LDAP 3. The browser component of Communicator, Navigator 4.0, is now compatible with Novell Client 32 software, according to the company.

Navigator and Composer users now can print background colors of Web pages while using a color printer, the company added.