Apple Announces Safari 4 Public Beta

Apple has announced a public beta of Safari 4 for both Windows and Mac. Apple says there are 150 new features in the browser. I haven’t read through all of the features because that would take a lot of time and since browsers aren’t the most interesting of applications it would also be a little boring (but if you would like to they are all listed here).

Top Sites

The first feature you will probably see when you open up Safari is “Top Sites.” Top Sites is essentially a homepage showing you your 12 most visited web sites, which are automatically generated by Safari.

Safari 4 Tab Bar

Apple has also decided to go along with the trend of putting the tab bar above the address bar. I’m still unsure as to whether or not I prefer the tab bar above the address bar or not but I do understand that it saves room and the way Apple has done it does look incredibly slick.

Safari 4 Speed Test

Apple also claims that Safari 4 is faster then any other browser out there. I have heard from others though that Chrome might actually be faster in the real world but according to the tests Apple did, Safari 4 is faster.

Safari 4 Web Page ZoomSafari 4 now has the ability to not only increase the font size on a web page but also increase the size of the images on the page.

Safari 4 Smart Address FieldApple has added a “Smart Address Field” which offers suggestions for you from your browsing history and bookmarks.

Apple has done a very impressive job with Safari 4, they look like they are on the path of a slower release cycle but when they do release they push out a huge list of features making them one of (if not the) best browsers available.

But, I still won’t be making the switch from Safari, I do only have one reason I’m not switching. The reason I’m not switching is that Safari 4 doesn’t have an option to force links that would normally open in new windows, to open in new tabs. This is especially frustrating when I use Google Reader and try to use the “v” shortcut to open the currently highlighted item on its website, in Safari it opens a new window, in Firefox it opens a new tab and that is how it should be. Apple, please add this seemingly simple feature, it’s the only one keeping me from switching.

Apple – Safari – Introducing Safari 4 – See the web in a whole new way.

Google Chrome Running On OS X

Chrome Running on Mac

The developers who have been working on Chrome over at Google have shifted gears from layout tests and WebKit compatibility to getting the user interface up and running on the Mac. Over the past few weeks the team working on the project have improved the code to the point where they have a fairly well running Cocoa UI and on top of that the app in its current stage will actually let you open and close tabs, which also opens and closes processes which the developers can watch happen using Activity Monitor.

Google has come along way with Chrome and although it might not ever get me to switch from Firefox I will sure be glad to have another competitor in the browser space, even if it only makes other broswers faster at rendering (but I would rather have web pages render faster than have a feature race).

Sucking less, on a budget: It’s Alive.

Apple Approves 3rd Party Web Browsers for App Store

Apple has slowing been loosening the restrictions on developers, first they started allowing apps with toilet humor and now they have begun approving web browsing applications to the App Store.

It is possible that Apple has separate internal approval queues depending on the category of application, we’ve seen this same type of grouping happen with the toilet humor apps and now we are seeing it with these web browsers.

Apple has until just recently declined web browser because they offer duplicate functionality to what the iPhone already offers.

This potentially opens the door for bigger browsers such as Opera or Firefox to develop versions for the iPhone, inevitably making browsing web pages on the iPhone better for the end user.

Apple Allows 3rd Party Web Browsers into App Store – Mac Rumors.

Google Introduces “Chrome,” a Web Browser Based on WebKit

Google Blogoscoped was sent a cartoon from Google showing off Google Chrome, an open source browser based on WebKit with Google Gears built in. The Google browser has been long rumored but never confirmed, but this is the first proof that it is coming. In fact, the first beta of the browser is supposed to be posted sometime today, at launch it will only be for Windows but will have Mac and Linux versions soon.

You can view the entire comic here but it’s a little long so unless you want to look through 38 pages you might as well get the bulk of the details listed below.

Chrome will run each of its tabs in its own process therefore when one tab crashes it won’t take down the whole browser. It also should give the browser an overall performance boost. This design will need more memory up front but in the long run will actually save memory since most users tend to multitask and open/close lots of tabs.

Google Chrome will display tabs at the top of the browser window rather then under the address bar. The search box and address bar is being called the “omnibox.” The search bar though will be able to detect site-specific searches and remember them so users to easily use them again from the browsers search box.

Chrome will have a Opera style Speed Dial-like page which will give users quick access to their most frequently visited sites and search engines.

The browser will also have a “Incognito” mode in which the window that you choose to enable this feature on will not record anything you do there (“porn mode” if you will).

Google will continually download a list of known phishing sites and list of malware sites to your computer, which will be used to warn users if they are about to visit one of them.

Google decided to use WebKit because of how quickly it renders web pages, but oddly enough Google decided to build its own JavaScript virtual machine called V8. V8 was built from the ground up and leverages the concepts of hidden class transitions, precise garbage collection, and machine code generation to make JavaScript-heavy applications faster.

It isn’t a surprise that Google would want to release their own web browser but it will surely cause an odd relationship between Google and Firefox, since Google basically funds Firefox entirely, that search bar in the upper left hand corner isn’t just there because it’s handy.

I don’t know if I’m going to choose Chrome over Firefox when it is made available for the Mac, but since I don’t use very many Firefox extensions it all comes down to how comfortable Chrome feels while using it. I’m not sure if I’m going to be too fond of the tabs above the “omnibox” but who knows. I’m happy to see a lot more competition in the browser space and I hope that this will do nothing more than force most of them to become more and more standards compliant.

Michael Arrington Starts Open Source “Firefox Tablet” Project

Michael Arrington has asked for help building a web tablet the idea is to have an open source tablet that runs Linux with Firefox or Skype on top of it as it’s main apps.

The tablet would be “as thin as possible, run low end hardware and has a single button for powering it on and off, headphone jacks, a built in camera for video, low end speakers, and a microphone. It will have Wifi, maybe on USB port, a built in battery, half a Gigabyte of RAM, a 4-Gigabyte solid state hard drive.”

The tablet would be turned on with it’s single button and would open Firefox automatically in a modified kiosk mode basically bypassing the operating system. Firefox could have Google Gears for offline syncing and Skype for communication.

Arrington has asked to have volunteers help build the Linux distro that would go on the tablet and a small team of people would help spec out the hardware of the device.

As much as I would love to have a nice tablet like this (especially at their purposed $200 price point) but honestly I think the iPhone works pretty well already. A larger touch screen would obviously be nicer but the fact that I can put the iPhone in my pocket and carry it anywhere I want is a pretty great feature and I don’t know if the extra screen real estate is worth the lack of pocket-ability.

I do think this is an interesting project and am interested to know where this goes but am worried that since the largest person backing this project (at this time at least) is Michael Arrington himself, if this product was built by someone like Nokia or Asus I think it would have a little bit more push behind it but hopefully their $200 tablet will actually see the light of day.


Opera Mini 4.1 Beta Released

Opera claims that the new version is 50% faster than Opera Mini 4.0. URL auto complete has been added along with the ability to save web pages on to your phone for offline viewing (something I’d really love to see in MobileSafari for the iPhone). You can also now upload and download files to web pages allowing you to fairly easily do things like photo blog.

Opera Mini

Apple Pushing Safari To Windows Users Through Apple Software Update

Apple did something a day or so ago that made a lot of people angry and I don’t really know why. An update was pushed to Windows users, primarily for iTunes but when the user clicked “Yes” to the update Apple’s Software updater opened and by default had the iTunes + Quicktime update and Safari checked. This means that when the user clicked the button to update Safari was installed on their computer.

Many people found this to be malicious or just plain wrong, I say, “what’s the big deal?” Now I understand that probably some users had Safari installed without ever realizing it until their computer rebooted and they found the icon on their desktop but in the world of software often times you have to opt-out of additional pieces of software.

I installed the update to iTunes on my computer yesterday and when I did, I simply unchecked the box for Safari and sure enough after my computer rebooted I didn’t have Safari installed.

No one complains about this when a piece of software forces you to opt-out of installing the Google toolbar, but of course when Apple does something similar everyone freaks out. Trust me, I love Apple, and would admit it to anyone, but if Apple does something wrong I’m going to be the first one to say so.

What people need to realize is that no matter how much they think that this was intentional, it wasn’t. If you uninstall iTunes, Quicktime, and Safari from a Windows computer and open up Apple Software Update, it is going to tell you that you need to install all 3 applications, so whatever application you don’t have installed is going to be listed in the update window. When iTunes updates all it does is open up Apple Software Update, the same app that is used when their is a Quicktime update and a Safari update.

I just don’t see how this could be such a horrible terrible thing. Unless your computer is somehow incapable of unchecking boxes in applications I don’t see how this is “hijacking windows users.”

Zumobi Launches Browser Beta

Zumobi is a browser that lets you easily access and share web based content on your mobile phone. The project is backed by Microsoft and looks pretty cool.

The beta is now available for free and works with any phone running Windows Mobile 5 or 6 with Blackberry and J2ME compatibility coming early in the second quarter of 2008.

Zumobi has also announced partnerships with Amazon, MTV, The Associated Press, AccuWeather, etc.

A beta of the SDK is also available allowing developers to start familiarizing themselves with the platform. Developers will be able to potentially earn money on their tiles in the future.


Full press release after the jump

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.0 Beta 1

Last night Mozilla released the first beta of Firefox 3.0. The beta is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux at Mozilla’s download site in 20 different languages.

Remember that this is still beta software so don’t expect it to work flawlessly. Many websites and extensions don’t work very well with the browser.

The browser has seen many improvements on the features side but nothing that really seems to stand above the rest as a “killer” feature.

With some time the application will exit beta stage and undoubtably will work much better but for now I suggest you look at the release notes, maybe download it to try it out, but most likely you will end up going back to trusty old Firefox 2.

Firefox Reaches 400 Million Downloads

So Firefox has reached 400 million downloads, but what does that mean? Nothing really, especially since I myself have probably downloaded Firefox 50-100 times. I talked about downgrading to Firefox 1.5 and when I did that I probably downloaded Firefox 4 or 5 times.

But, I don’t want to be too harsh on Firefox, even though Firefox 2 sucks it is much better then any other browser out there, and I’m glad to see that they are successful. It was only 7 months ago that they reached 300 million downloads so one would assume that their market share is rising at a steady pace.

I just can’t wait for Firefox 3 to come out and I hope they fix the problems that I have been having running Firefox on my Mac, I just can’t believe how often it crashes.

Categorized as Browser