June 21, 2007

Safari for Windows

The browser wars just stepped up another notch thanks to the release of Safari for Windows. If you haven't heard of Safari before that's OK, neither have 95% of the computer-using public. That's because Safari is the web browser that Apple include as standard when you buy a Mac and hasn't actually been available for Windows. Now it is and I suggest you try it here.

Safari has been out for over three years on the Mac platform and was the first browser to bring innovations like tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking and Snapback to consumers. Since its release it has matured in to a very stable and secure browser. In fact, according to Apple, Safari is also the fastest browser for PC. That's right, faster than Internet Explorer 6 and 7, and faster than Firefox.

The thing I've always loved about Safari is it's intuitive bookmark management features. Bookmarks are easy to organise using a single-window interface that will be familiar to you if you've used iTunes. And don't worry about importing your bookmarks from your other browser, Safari does that automatically on its first run. Other features like SnapBack and built-in RSS support help to make Safari a compelling proposition.

Some pundits have questioned Apples motives for porting Safari to Windows but I think it's for a combination of reasons. Firstly Apple are good at making software that consumers love to use, with Safari on Windows it's just another reason for people to experience the 'Mac' way before investing in Apple hardware, and, secondly Apple make a lot of money from search referrals to Google and Yahoo. Some analysts put the number in the order of $20 million, with a larger base of users running Safari this number is expected to at least double or triple.