XTravo Explorer Is a Browser Worth a Look

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Web browser XTravo Explorer surprised me. Although I can't say this free browser is going to kick Firefox off my system anytime soon, it at least has some interesting ideas. It's worth checking out.

XTravo Explorer
XTravo Explorer's minimalist interface takes up little room, leaving plenty of space for the Web pages you visit.

Ad-bedecked websites covered in mangled English do not usually bespeak a program worth reviewing, much less recommending. Trying to figure out precisely what the developers feel is special about XTravo Explorer is not easy, as their Web site is filled with phrases like "The tools offer Developers to have a Tree view of the website coding." A good bit of poking and prodding, though, revealed a few nifty features.

First, XTtravo Explorer isn't a "Mozilla with a new skin", which is what about ninety percent of "alternative" browsers are. With its extremely minimalist interface, it resembles Google's Chrome browser more than anything else. The interface "widgets" are very small, so the vast majority of screen real estate is free for browsing. Pop-up hints tell you what the icons do, and all the basic functions are here: refresh, stop, back, next, new tab, bookmarks.

XTravo Explorer comes with a suite of potential default search engines; I chose Google. There's a small search bar in the upper right corner. What I found nifty about this is that, if you type your search term and hit Ctrl-Enter instead of Enter, it instead searches Wikipedia for you. This is a lot better than having two search boxes sucking down your precious screen pixels, at least for those of us who regularly use Wikipedia as a starting point for web activity. There's a built-in picture grabber, which can quickly download all the images on a page--an occasionally handy utility.

Another feature that XTravo Explorer considers to be unique is its link to something called "XTravo Cloud OS by Eye OS". This is, apparently, a Web-based operating system: Click the link and you are moved to a "desktop" filled with "apps." This interface is less than fully developed, and there are a few underwhelming programs such as a spreadsheet and a text editor. I'm not sure why someone would choose this over Google Apps, or if anyone else has ever heard of it, but it's there if you want to explore it.

I found some annoying bugs. It took a while for me to get my preferred home page to "stick." If you enable Xtravo Explorer's popup blocker, it cannot distinguish between a Web page trying to hit you with ads for herbal Viagra and you choosing a link with the "Open in new window" option.

These are fairly small issues; the larger issue is if it's worth replacing a well-tested and supported browser with a new entry from left field. As a full-time browser, no, it isn't. However, if you like trying out browsers just to see if you might get in on the ground floor of the Next Big Thing, XTravo Explorer is worth at least a few minutes of your time.

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