For those of us who have coveted a Mac, we can now get one step closer to Mac-dom, with Apple’s public beta release of the Safari browser for Windows. This sleek, silvery browser is identical to what you’d get on a Mac OS system, and has all the usual nuts and bolts that are now essential for any browser.
Tabbed browsing, one-click “Empty Cache” and “Clear History” options, automatic import of IE and FF bookmarks, built-in RSS, inline search and a SnapBack option are some of the main features. There is also the ability to turn on private browsing, where no history is saved, downloads are automatically removed, no form or search data is saved, and so on.
Apple’s download page says it draws pages twice as fast as IE 7 and 1.7 times faster than Firefox. While I initially found it to be a tad slow, further experimenting showed that was just a result of my connection. It is undoubtedly faster than Firefox and seems to be providing serious competition to Opera on the speed front.
One intriguing feature is the SnapBack. It lets you mark a page to “snap” back to after you have navigated away. For example, if you are performing a search and have delved many clicks deep into one of the results, it is rather convenient to be able to return to the main results page directly.
In all, Safari is a good little browser. It is now the second Windows browser to pass the ACID 2 Web standards test (after Opera)—try it out yourself. So far I’ve had a very cursory look, though. At the moment there’s the novelty factor, and a little bit of nostalgia for old Mac fans like me, but if there’s a really good reason to abandon Firefox or Opera for Safari, I have yet to find it.