Browser Updates

February 25, 2009  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

There are two pieces of browser news from this week. First, one of my old favorites, OmniWeb, was released as freeware yesterday. I am a big OmniWeb fan, but I honestly have been finding myself using mostly Firefox and Safari. This is mostly due to the constant stream of new features being added to the latter two browsers. Still, competition is good. And I hope that the freeware label doesn’t keep the skilled developers at the Omni Group from making OmniWeb even better.

The second piece of news is the release of the Safari 4 beta. There are lots of changes in this release, including a new tabs paradigm and a new Top Sites page. I won’t say the “c” word (“copied”), but both features are very reminiscent of Google Chrome. I downloaded Safari 4 yesterday and have been using it ever since. Its fast, and I like the new Top Sites page (pretty and functional). I’m not sold on the new tabs, though. I like them in theory, but a few quirks keep me from being sold entirely. The small font size in the title bar is distracting. I have been using Mac OS X for a long time now and I am used to the title bar font being a particular size. The smaller size may be necessary to fit in the tab titles, but it puts me off.

My real problem, though, is how it’s now possible to accidentally switch tabs when switching windows. Before, I could click anywhere on the title bar to bring a Safari window to the front. Now, if I click on one of the other tabs, the window comes to the front but the tab changes. So the area I have to click on is smaller. It’s something of a small ergonomic disaster for me. Thankfully, this problem can be fixed without changing the tab paradigm. All Apple needs to do is put in an option allowing clicks on a background Safari window to no longer change tabs. Then I would be happy.

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