Tag Archives | Apple Safari

The Browser Wars' Odd New Equilibrium

Apple released version 5.0.1 of its Safari browser yesterday. It fixes one major security vulnerability. More pleasantly, it turns on support for extensions, which Apple is now collecting in its new Extensions Gallery. The quantity of available add-ins is skimpy compared to Chrome or (especially) Firefox, but there’s already some good stuff–I like Gmail Counter, which adds a button indicating how many e-mails have arrived since you last checked your inbox, along with a banner that rotates through recent subject lines. And Safari extensions have the most seamless installation process I’ve seen to date–one click, and you’re good to go.

Until now, when folks have asked me how the major browsers stack up, I’ve mostly praised Safari but noted that the lack of extensions made for a less customizable working environment. Now it’s got ’em. One more reason to consider using Safari, one less major distinguishing characteristic for the competition.

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Meet a Web Publisher Who's Okay With Safari's New Ad Removal Feature (Me!)

Back in August, I blogged about an article that predicted that all Web browsers would eventually block all ads by default. I ended with a poll in which a plurality of  respondents said that sounded like a swell idea.

Ten months later, no browser has introduced sweeping ad-blocking. But on Monday, Apple introduced Safari 5, a new version of its browser with a feature called Reader. It’s not an ad blocker per se, but it does remove ads as part of what it does. And it’s the first significant development in built-in ad, um, discouragers since pop-up blockers became standard equipment years ago.

Like Readability and Instapaper, it examines a Web page with an article on it, strips out navigational elements, Flash modules, and other items other than  the story itself, then displays the text and images in a streamlined view that looks a bit like a word-processing document. When an article is broken into multiple pages, it’s also smart enough to stitch all the pages together without making you click on anything.

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Maybe We Should Declare a Moratorium on Browser Speed Claims

Apple is touting its new Safari 5, is “the world’s fastest browser.” Over at Computerworld, Richi Jennnings has rounded up a bunch of blog posts that politely disagree. (Actually, one isn’t so polite: it calls Apple’s claim a “flat-out lie.”

Who’s right? Everybody and nobody, and that’s the problem. I don’t think Apple cooked its numbers, but the only ones it’s published are for tests performed on a Mac, so they won’t tell you anything about how Windows browsers compare. And even if you only care about Macs, the race is tight enough that different hardware setups will yield different winners.

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Firefox 3.5: The Technologizer Review

firefoxreviewWas it really fewer than five years ago that Firefox 1.0 debuted? Its arrival ended the dismal period in which only one browser–Microsoft’s mediocre Internet Explorer–seemed to be viable. With Firefox, Mozilla proved that millions of people were itching to adopt a better browser. And today, we find ourselves with multiple better browsers:  Not just Firefox, but also Google’s minimalist Chrome, Apple’s flashy Safari, the ever-inventive Opera, the highly social Flock, and even the no-longer-calcifying Internet Explorer 8.

All of which means that Firefox 3.5–which Mozilla plans to formally release today–is no longer a shoo-in for the distinction of being the favorite browser of browser fans. (As I write, Firefox 3.5 hasn’t replaced 3.0 yet on the Firefox home page, but the Windows and Mac versions are live on Mozilla’s FTP site.)

After having spent months with various pre-release versions of 3.5, though, I’m convinced that The Little Browser That Could remains the best choice for the widest array of folks. That’s as much for the virtues that Firefox has possessed for years as for new stuff: Version 3.5′ s improvements are about better speed, useful tweaks to existing features, catchup with other browsers, and early support for emerging Web standards. In other words, the browser sports no knockout new features. But the moves Mozilla has made are smart, and they’re more than enough for Firefox to keep pace with its fast-evolving rivals.

After thr jump, a look at what’s new in rough order of importance. Continue Reading →