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>> Hi, I'm Peter Butler from CNETDownload.com and today I'm taking a first look at the Avant Browser, a free alternative web browser. You've probably heard of Internet Explorer and the Mozilla Firefox or even Opera, Safari and Camino, but Avant Browser? It might surprise you to learn that as of summer 2007, Avant Browser gets more downloads per week on CNETDownload.com than any of those other web browsers. Avant is built off the Windows Trident layout engine, the same engine that Microsoft Internet Explorer uses. However, Avant included a bunch of new features that help distinguish it from the Microsoft browser. One of the most notable will pop up when you first install and start Avant Browser. After you select the location of your tab bar and the size of your icons, both of which can be changed later, the Avant webpage will load and you'll see a window for Avant Online Storage. In earlier versions, Avant teamed with form filling app RoboForm to manage your passwords and saved forms. But now it handles the whole process itself. After you register with Avant, you can save your configurations, bookmarks, RSS feeds, and web passwords for use with any computer anywhere in the world. If you're looking for free online storage for your music, pictures and movies however, look elsewhere. One of my personal favorite features in Avant Browser is the unified search box that appears in the upper right corner of the interface. The default search that uses an Avant branded version of Yahoo is no great shakes, but the additional features are helpful. You can use the same search box to search the current website or your current webpage. You can also click a highlighter button to show all occurrence of your search term on the current page. Both IE and Firefox could learn from this feature. Another cool trick in the Avant Browser is the ability to navigate back and forward using your mouse. Hold the right mouse button and click the left to go back a page. Hold the left and click the right to navigate forward. Several similar tips for Avant Browser are available via the help menu. One last feature is worth mentioning for those of you that have slower Internet connections, are worried about security or simply don't want to deal with multimedia and interactive content. From Avant's tools menu you can disable images, Flash animations, video, sound, scripts, or applets that appear on any webpage. In many ways, Avant Browser is a lot like a shell for Internet Explorer. But it does include a whole bunch of new features that make it worth trying out. If you are looking for a better version of IE or if you use websites that require it, you should definitely give Avant a try. However, like IE, one of Avant's glaring weaknesses is the lack of a download manager. This has been Peter Butler with CNETDownload.com taking a first look at Avant Browser. Thanks for watching.
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