Safari Gets More Chrome-Like. Should Google Worry?

Google’s Chrome browser has plenty to offer that its competitors don’t, but the biggest thing in my mind, has historically been the omnibox, which lets you simply enter a search query into...
Safari Gets More Chrome-Like. Should Google Worry?
Written by Chris Crum
  • Google’s Chrome browser has plenty to offer that its competitors don’t, but the biggest thing in my mind, has historically been the omnibox, which lets you simply enter a search query into the address bar to search Google. Ever since first using Chrome, it’s been a struggle to use other browsers.

    For a long time, Chrome was the only browser to offer this functionality, though some competitors have finally caught up in this regard. Firefox, for example recently began offering similar functionality. IE and Opera have released versions that perform searches from the address bar as well.

    Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference last month, that its Safari also now has such a feature. Apple calls it SmartSearch. Here’s what Apple has to say about it on the Safari site:

    Now there’s one simple field for both search terms and web addresses. When you enter a web address, Safari takes you right to the web page — and even fills in the entire URL. Safari finds what you’re looking for in a faster and smarter way. As you type in the field, Safari stays one step ahead and suggests a Top Hit — the closest match to what you’re looking for. Safari uses pages from your bookmarks and history to find a Top Hit, so you find the right web page fast.

    It’s not quite Google Instant, as Chrome has, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Apple has users used to the Safari browser on their iOS devices, so it’s possible that such a feature could sway some users away from Chrome and other browsers, but Google did also launch Chrome for iOS last month as well.

    Interestingly, there are reports surfacing today suggesting that Apple may have ended development of Safari for Windows, which certainly wouldn’t play into that increasing market share scenario. Not sure what to make of that. Frederic Lardinois reports for TechCrunch:

    What seems to be completely gone from Apple’s site now, though, is any mention of the Windows version of Safari. Indeed, it looks like Apple has removed all download links for Safari from its site for the time being. This could be due to the fact that Apple is currently highlighting Safari’s new features in Mountain Lion (which pre-installs Safari 6), or because Apple has indeed ended development of Safari for Windows. Windows users can still download the old version from Apple, but the link is hidden on the company’s support page.

    Apple’s latest version of Mac OS X – Mountain Lion – came out today, and with that comes the latest version of Safari (6). The Safari update has reportedly also been made available to OS X Lion users.

    Other new Safari features include (as described on Apple’s site):

    Share button
    The Share button is built into Safari, so it’s easy to share web pages using Mail, Messages, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Offline Reading List
    Safari saves the web pages in your Reading List so you can catch up on your reading even when you don’t have an Internet connection. If an article in your Reading List contains multiple pages, Safari fetches the pages and stores them, so you can read the entire article offline.

    Tab View
    Use Multi-Touch gestures to switch between your tabs. On the trackpad, pinching in reveals your open tabs. In Tab View, a two-finger swipe navigates between them.

    Password AutoFill
    When you log in to a website, Safari offers to save your password for AutoFill, so you don’t have to type it the next time you log in.

    View passwords
    If you forget a saved password, you can find it in the new Passwords pane in Safari. Use your system password to authenticate, and you’ll see all your passwords.

    iCloud Tabs
    Pick up browsing right where you left off — on your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or Mac. iCloud makes your open Safari tabs available on all your devices, so you can access the last websites you looked at.

    Smooth scrolling
    Thanks to hardware acceleration, web pages scroll smoothly in the browser window even when your Mac is loading new web page content.

    Do Not Track
    Safari supports an emerging privacy standard called “Do Not Track.” When you turn on Do Not Track or surf the web with Private Browsing, Safari asks the websites you visit not to track you online.

    Rename bookmarks in the bookmarks bar
    Click and hold a bookmark or folder to rename it.

    Improved hardware acceleration
    With improved hardware acceleration, Safari renders text and graphics even faster.

    Faster performance
    Safari speeds up JavaScript performance by up to 6 percent compared with Safari 5.1.

    As far as search is concerned, it’s also worth noting that Baidu has been added as a search option.

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