Netscape Navigator was developed by the team who had created the Mosaic web browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The company they created was initially named "Mosaic Communications Corporation" and their web browser "Mosaic Netscape ", but a legal challenge from NCSA over the rights to the name resulted in the company and the product being renamed. The name "Netscape " was invented by sales representative Greg Sands.
Beta versions of the web browser were freely downloadable in mid- to late-1994, and version 1.0 of the browser was released by the end of the year.
The first few releases of the product were made available in "commercial" and "evaluation" versions; for example, version "1.0" and version "1.0N". The "N" evaluation versions were completely identical to the commercial versions; the letter was there to remind people to pay for the browser once they felt they had tried it long enough and were satisfied with it. This distinction was formally dropped within a year of the initial release, and the full version of the browser continued to be made available for free online, with boxed versions available on floppy disks (and later CDs) in stores along with a period of phone support. Email support was initially free, and remained so for a year or two until the volume of support requests grew too high.
During development the Netscape browser was known by the code name Mozilla, which became the name of a Godzilla-like cartoon dragon mascot used prominently on the company's web site . The Mozilla name was also used as the User-Agent in HTTP requests by the browser. Other web browsers claimed to be compatible with Netscape 's extensions to HTML, and therefore used the same name in their User-Agent identifiers so that web servers would send them the same pages as were sent to Netscape browsers. A competitor's unauthorized use of a trademarked name could have been grounds for a lawsuit, but that possibility was left unexplored. Mozilla is now a generic name for matters related to the open source successor to Netscape Communicator.
- Quickly view the status of security protection provided by the Netscape Browser. The browser will automatically let you know when there is a problem.
- The Netscape Browser provides real time Spyware scanning when you download files from the web. You may also run memory and disk scans for Spyware protection and prevention.
- The Netscape Browser takes the mystery out of Real Simple Syndication (RSS) and allows you to read and manage RSS feeds without the need of a separate news reader application.
- Create more than one profile to keep your bookmarks and passcards safe from other users. If you have a family, create a profile for your children and make use of the parental controls feature.
- Tabbed browsing lets you have multiple web pages open in one window. This feature is great for organizing and freeing up desktop space because it files your web pages in a series of tabs.
- The new Netscape Browser gives you more ways to make your browser secure.
- MultiBars let you customize up to ten different browser toolbars you can access with a single click.
- The Netscape Browser makes remembering your site passwords and filling out information forms on site simple.
- With Live Content you have one-click access to information important to you.