Firefox 3 has rightfully dominated the browser headlines over the last few weeks, but that doesn’t mean there are other interesting alternative applications coming on stage.
One of them is Pogo, a 3D web browser developed by AT&T and Vizible. Pogo is based on the Mozilla engine and also uses Vizible’s 3D rendering algorithms to deliver a more visually appealing user experience when browsing the web. According to the developers, “Pogo’s graphical nature evolves the browsing experience from a text-centric interface to one that is highly visual, and therefore more intuitive, in line with the way people think and use the Internet.” Pogo is currently at a closed beta stage but fortunately I managed to get a invite, so I decided to give it a try and see that visual revolution by myself.
To begin with, Pogo’s main interface looks strangely familiar – it’s based on Mozilla, so all toolbars, menus and dialog windows are almost identical to those in Firefox. But that’s pretty much the only thing this browser has in common with others. When you launch it for the first time, Pogo offers to import bookmarks from other web browsers, and also import built-in sets of bookmarks based on your personal interests (sports, technology, news, games, etc.).
The standard tab bar has been moved down to the bottom and turned into a resizable panel that contains the so called “cells” (that is, tabs). Tabs now appear as thumbnails, which may look prettier than just a favicon but are not that useful – they’re so small you can hardly distinguish the website.
The two most outstanding features in Pogo are the history browser and the bookmark manager. The first one lets you review all the websites you’ve visited in a Cover Flow-like 3D interface, which strangely enough doesn’t work with the mouse – only with arrow keys. As for the bookmark manager, in a way it also reminds me of the way album covers are handled on the iPod Touch and the iPhone. You can browse bookmarks like in Cover Flow again, and if you want to view or edit their details, click on a button and flip the bookmark over.
Pogo is definitely different from other web browsers you’ve seen so far but it’s not necessarily better. It provides you with a different attractive approach to web browsing, but in my opinion it’s more visually attractive than useful. As I see it, Pogo could have been developed more as a browser add-on rather than an independent app. In any case, if you’re looking for an alternative way to browse the web, you may as well give it a try.