Safari 4 has almost caught up to other browsers

When I read the features in the new Safari 4 beta, I got really excited. My wife uses Safari on her Mac because when she first started using OS X, Firefox and Camino weren’t very stable (the user profiles kept getting corrupt). Now Firefox is much better, and she uses it at work for the web developer extension, but she still uses Safari at home.

Well, I kind of twisted her arm to give Safari 4 beta a try. A lot of the new features sound exciting. It has a tab bar on top to save vertical space (just like Google Chrome). It has a “speed dial” page of your most frequently visited websites (just like Opera and Chrome). Its speed dial is very slick-looking, though (reminiscent of Exposé or the album browser in iTunes).

It still has two major shortcomings, though.

  • Although there is an entry in History for restoring the tabs from last session, there is no setting to have the tabs from last session automatically get restored every time you start the browser.
  • Typing phrases in the address bar doesn’t search for them. Instead, you still get a page saying the URL isn’t found, and then a prompt to search for the phrase. Why not just search instead of adding that extra step? Pretty much every major browser does this (Firefox, Opera, Camino, Chrome). Why not Safari?

Well, I’m glad Apple has put in at least a little more effort into making Safari a better browser. Maybe Safari 5 will actually bring some innovative features instead of just playing catch-up.


  1. I agree. I can’t see what’s the big deal about Safari 4. It is too obvious that they are trying to make something similar to Google Chrome, but I sure prefer Chrome over the new Safari.

    I am using Firefox, though, and have no intentions switching to other browser.

  2. @Wikzo: Safari was around before Chrome. That being said, they both are built upon Webkit, which has been around longer then both.

    @ubuntucat: Firefox will always be my browser of choice though. The other choices just have no real customization options that interest me.

  3. @Wikzo: Safari does like slightly akin to Chrome, in that it’s relatively minimalist in design, and makes use of the title bar atop the browser window. Even the toolbar buttons are similarly positioned.

    @ubuntucat: Not forgetting that Safari is merely in beta – most betas have a lot of bugs and errors. For example, where has Safari’s in-address-bar loading bar gone? Previous versions of Safari sported an address bar which displays the loading status of pages. Unfortunately, this has disappeared with the Safari 4 beta. Not to worry, though. By the time Snow Leopard is out, it should be a lot better.
    On two technical notes, Safari’s ‘speed dial’ tool is known as ‘Top Sites’, which is hardly inventive. Secondly, and in conclusion, Safari 5 is still quite a way off, so there’s no point waiting for that yet.

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