In the last few days I’ve watched how columns from around the web have bashed the latest beta version of the Safari browser. It’s too much glitter, it ripped off Chrome, this that and the other, all in all very nasty comments.
Well today I’m going to play devil’s advocate and tell you what I actually liked about Safari 4.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong about copying features from competitors – once and for all – we should establish that this actually improves the experience for end-users. It is how the tech industry has worked for years and this “˜tradition’ isn’t about to change anytime soon. Everything from mobile phones to operating systems are being knocked off and implemented and at the end of the day the innovator gets the geek cred; the user doesn’t care. He’s just happy using the Top Sites feature.
Safari 4 brings us improved performance all around, from startup times to page loads and some changes in the user interface. Safari now uses the latest version of WebKit, and improved script interpreter, and puts the tabs in the title bar – a very good design choice that saves space especially on small resolution devices. Why isn’t this better? I can’t understand why people are so upset about a change in design that is clearly beneficial.
The Top SItes feature, as you probably know, was one of the new things Google Chrome brought to the table. Chrome’s implementation of the feature is admittedly barebones – I actually like the curved view in Safari, which brings me back memories of Minority Report; all we need now is the touchscreen.
There are a couple of tweaks they made to the interface since the last iteration: no more grey gradient menus and OS X background for the configuration windows and notifications.
Performance-wise we see an improvement – it uses just slightly more resources than Firefox. You can try this too; I opened Google, Google Reader and Yahoo. 3 tabs for each browser.
Apple haters – close that Gmail window, don’t send me hate mail – but I actually would switch to Safari 4 if I would be able to port 4 extensions I can’t live without: Customize Google, StumbleUpon, AdBlock, and NoScript. I got spoiled – I didn’t see an ad since last year – and I couldn’t take it. An even bigger issue is not having NoScript to protect me from scripting exploits.
As always, I love to read your comments and reply, so don’t be shy and tell me what you think about Safari 4 browser; what’s bugging you, what could be better.