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A few hours after Steve Jobs’s opening keynote for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced in a press release the 5.0 update of Safari, its web browser.

While the new feature updates are not ground breaking, they are pretty good enhancements for browsing the net.  Let’s take a look at them.

The Reader

Probably one of the most useful new features is the Safari Reader. It appears as a button in the URL field, or you can access by selecting View> Enter Reader.

Basically when it’s activated, it provides a clean read-only version of an article, stripping away ads and other perhaps distracting content of a selected webpage. It delivers up a PDF-like version of an article. It only works when a single article is downloaded on a page, not when there’s a series of articles on a page.



In Reader view, you can print articles more easily as PDFs or email them as you did in the previous version of Safari. When you select Print from the File menu, the Reader version is ready for printing. Interestingly, however, you still have to use the old method of saving a webpage as a PDF. You can’t save the Reader version without first converting the page to PDF.


Safari Reader is a very nice feature, but I wish Apple had included a way to annotate webpages in Reader view.

Bing Search Engine

Safari 5 also now includes Bing search, in addition to Google and Yahoo!, in the browser search field. You can select which search engine you want to use before or after you type a query into the Smart Search Field.


If you prefer to have Bing or Yahoo as your default search, simply open up Safari preferences and make that change.

defaultsearch engine.png

Private Browsing

Whenever you want to keep Safari from recording the websites you visit and the username and passwords you enter into a website, you probably know that you just select Safari> Private Browsing.


Well, now when you activate Private Browsing, a button appears in the URL field so that you can easily deactivate it when you no longer want to browse in Private mode. This is not a significant update, but if you need to access Private browsing throughout the day, say at work, it could be a very useful reminder.

Smarter Address Field

If you’re constantly searching for websites that you recently visited, Safari 5″˜s Smart Address field can assist you. When you type in the URL or search field a few related words for the site you looking for, Safari will make suggestions of possible related websites.


There are numerous other upgrades in Safari 5, including, according to Apple, a significant performance boost of the browser, greater support for HTML5, and the inclusion of what is called Extension Builder, which makes it easier for extension developers to package and distribute its extensions for installation.

So, MUO readers, how significant are these updates to you as a Safari user? Is there a particular new feature that you will use on a regular basis? Let us know.

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