My first Safari

Last week Apple unveiled a Windows version of its Safari web browser and since then many of my friends and colleagues have been asking me if it's as fast and stable as Mr. Steve Jobs claims. So what's my verdict? Is it worth a download? Let me enlighten you...

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  June 19, 2007

It's no surprise that our ‘window to the internet' also known as the browser is the most used app by global PC users, and like the OS battle, the browser battles have been largely a battle between Microsoft Internet Explorer (79%), Mozilla Firefox (14%) and Apple's Safari (5 %).

Safari has, up until recently, been at an obvious disadvantage in this brewing battle as it ran only on Mac systems, and it is no revelation that Macs make up less than 10% of computers in the world. As such, most users weren't able to run or even have a trial run of the browser. But things could turn around for the lonely browser as Apple has just released a beta version of Safari for Windows.

Apple's Steve Jobs claims that Safari runs twice as fast as Internet Explorer and ‘significantly faster' than Firefox. Since a faster browser is every user's dream, this makes Safari look like a must-have browser.  It's no secret: people love speed.

Apple's browser also boasts some attractive features such as SnapBack. This lets you ‘snap back' to your original search results or the top level of any site, even after you browsed down a number of levels. Moreover, it has a security feature dubbed ‘Private browsing', which lets you turn off storage of search results, cookies, download history and other info that's normally cached. Very useful indeed.

I wanted to check out Apple's new browser for myself. I always use a more than two browsers for a number of reasons. One reason is some sites won't render properly in one browser but look completely flawless in another.

Downloading and installing the beta took a couple of minutes, however I made sure to create a restore point first; you never know folks. I then double-clicked on the icon but the browser, to my surprise,  didn't load.

I endeavored to alter the compatibility settings on the Safari program to run in Windows XP compatibility mode. This technique did work for a variety of apps that didn't work on Windows Vista from the start, but to my dismay it had no effect here.

After I restarted my machine it finally fired up. The interface looks very similar to Apple's OS X, which I for one favour very much. Its window frames are not transparent in Vista though. And to answer the burning question,  yes, it is very quick. In comparison tests, it opened most pages more quickly than IE and Firefox, however not by a huge amount.

There was one niggle: when place your cursor anywhere in the address bar, it fails to highlight the whole address as IE and Firefox do, so you can type in a new one without dragging to highlight and delete the old one. Minor, but annoying nonetheless.

In any case, if you do try Safari let me know if you like it and whether you encounter any niggles running it on Windows by e-mailing me at cleona.godinho@itp.com.

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