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Apple launches Safari 4 beta web browser

Safari 4 beta
Apple has launched a public beta of Safari 4, the latest update to its web browser for OS X and Windows. The new browser is fast, attractive, and to be honest, feels a lot like Google Chrome. Both browsers use the WebKit rendering engine, so for the most part if you can view a page in one browser it should render properly in the other (although the Safari 4 download page didn't work properly in Google Chrome - I had to fire up Firefox in order for the download link to appear Update: It looks like the download page now works in Chrome). And now Safari also automatically generates thumbnail previews of the pages you visit more frequently, just as Google Chrome does.

Sure, both Google and Apple ripped the feature off from Opera, which had a Speed Dial feature long before anybody. But Safari 4's new Top Sites feature is pretty slick. When you first launch the browser you're greeted with thumbnails for popular web sites like Wikipedia and Google Maps. As you use the browser, Safari will detect which web sites you visit mos frequently and add them to the list.

There's also a little history search box in the bottom right corner of the screen. Start typing a query and Safari will conduct a full history search. But unlike Chrome or Firefox which show the results in the locationbar, Safari will bring up a Cover Flow window and show you previews of each web site containing your search term.

Like Google Chrome, Safari 4 moves the browser tabs to the very top of the window and has a smarter address field that saves you time when typing a web address. For instance, once I've typed www.downloadsquad.com once, the next time I start to type "down" Safari will fill out the rest of me.

Safari has also added the full page zoom feature that's so popular with the kids these days, and which is missing from Google Chrome, which only lets you zoom in on text. The Windows version of Safari 4 also supports native Windows fonts, title bars, and borders.

As with most Apple products, if you're installing the Windows version you'll want to be careful during the installation process. If you don't uncheck all of the options, you could wind up installing several other utilities in addition to the web browser.

Safari 4 Beta


Tags: freeware, safari, safari-4, safari-4-beta, web-browser

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