Internet has become an inseparable part of our daily lives and the web browsers are the gates to enter that virtual world.
And speaking of browsers, most Mac users rely on Safari and Firefox as their two main browsers. But those are not the only options. There are other browsers, such as: Opera, Flock, Shiira, Stainless, Camino and Sunrise. You can even try Chrome on your Mac if you really want to. Yet, there’s one great free browser that not many Mac users talk about: OmniWeb.
This browser – developed by The Omni Group (creator of many well-known Mac apps) – used to be a commercial application. Maybe that’s why OmniWeb is not popular among freeware seekers. The developer decided to make it available for free earlier this year – around February 2009. Due to the unbelievable number of free, great web browsers out there, I think it was a wise (and unavoidable) decision for the developers to make.
Why OmniWeb and why not?
Let’s start with the “why not” part first. There’s a catch behind the whole “free” statement: Omni Group have decided not to put this browser under active development anymore, although it is not discontinued. This might discourage some people to even try to use it. But still, it’s a good application and the latest available version (5.9.2) is two updates since becoming free.
If you are willing to try, OmniWeb is available as 23.3 Mb download for the International version or around 14 Mb if you prefer the English-only version.
As for the reasons to use OmniWeb, there are a lot goodies that users might find useful. A few of my favorites are:
- Thumbnail Tab Drawer –> All modern browsers have tabs but OmniWeb tried a different approach on utilizing this feature. Instead of placing the tabs above the browsing window like every other browser, OmniWeb’s tabs are located at the side, inside a drawer. The larger drawer space makes it possible to show thumbnails of the opened web pages. The thumbnails are arranged vertically. To move between tabs, users can use the shortcut Command + Up/Down Arrow.
- Multiple Workspaces –> Tabbed browsing cultivated a new habit for web surfers: opening many of web pages at once. When the number of tabs (and windows) increase to chaotic level, organizing them is a must. OmniWeb comes with a feature called Workspace (Command + Control + 0) where users can group tabs into different categories like: work, personal, fun, entertainment, or any category according to user’s preference.
- Customizable Search Box –> “Google” has become a new verb in the English language. It shows how often web users perform searches using Google. But there are other search engines that users may want to use/search on. OmniWeb lets users add/delete sites to the search box and also define the shortcut keys for different search functions. This process has a relatively simple learning curve.
There are many other features that you can read on the site or you can just download the manual if you would like to learn more.
OmniWeb will work with Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher and is Universal Binary.
So, why not try this browser out and share your opinions in the comments below. Or if you are a part of the OmniWeb cult since the beginning, please share some experience below.