Netscape Communications has released the second beta preview of Netscape 6.

The revised, cross-platform beta is available as a free download.

The browser’s new features include enhanced customization and security options.

Competition The Themes feature lets users change the look of the browser by adding different design elements, or skins. Netscape has launched a Netscape Themes contest, open to all. Prizes include a Philips plasma TV, an iBook and a Sony digital camera. Winning themes will be bundled with the final version of Netscape 6.

Other features include Netscape WebMail, which will let users access multiple mail accounts from within the browser. These will include Netscape WebMail, AOL, POP3 and IMAP email accounts. Instant Messenger functionality is integrated into the application. Through this, users can see whether senders or intended recipients are online, to enable real-time instant chat.

Auto-complete The application offers email address auto-complete, email filters, searchable message folders and the ability to use multiple SMTP servers.

The software also hosts a souped-up, crypto-protected Password Manager, which will offer protected Password use across the Internet.

Jim Martin, senior vice president of Netscape, said: "As we work towards delivering the final version of Netscape 6 this autumn, we are very excited by the possibilities it brings to drive innovation and competition while continuing to focus on extending the power and convenience of the Internet to consumers."

The preview release is available now in a wide variety of languages, including Japanese, German and French.