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Mac OS X Mountain Lion: Safari 6.0 review

We test out Apple's latest Google Chrome rival
Thu Jul 26 2012, 13:50
Apple Safari browser

MAC OS X 10.8 MOUNTAIN LION has roared its way onto Apple Mac computers, and The INQUIRER promptly downloaded its copy from the Mac App Store.

Among Mountain Lion's 200 new features is a reworked Safari 6.0 web browser, which hopes to steal customers from Google's Chrome alternative that is dominating the browser race. Here we go hands-on with Safari 6.0 using a 2009 Macbook Pro.

Appearance
Apple's latest Safari web browser looks largely the same as previous iterations, but users will notice a handful of design tweaks.

Among these visual changes is that multiple tabs will now stretch to fill the entire screen width, no matter how many you have open. While at first we found this feature a little unnecessary, it does make flicking through multiple web sites much speedier, and makes it easier to find the elusive tab you're looking for.

Show All Tabs is another new feature, and can be found as a small tabbed button towards the right of the screen. It can also be accessed by 'pinching out' on your Macbook's trackpad, for those who like doing things with a little more flair.

Mountain Lion Safari show all tabs

Once you're in the Show All Tabs screen, you can use the trackpad to swipe between open web sites, a feature that, although we're unlikely to use it that often, certainly adds to the browser's slick feel.

Another slight visual tweak that we noticed in Safari 6.0 is a lighter blue progress bar, more subtle than previous iterations. It's unlikely to get anyone too excited, but it's the little things that add up to the overall experience.

Search
Clearly taking tips from Google's Chrome web browser, Safari's address bar is now a one-stop-shop for both searching and browsing. Previously available only as a plug-in, Apple's new Smart Search feature lets you type a query straight into the address bar, as you would when using Google Chrome.

Mountain Lion Safari smart search

If you don't immediately spot the URL you're after, Apple will bring up three different categories of search results - top hits, Google Search, and bookmarks and history. Of course, top hits will give you the most likely web sites, and bookmarks and history will bring up web sites you've saved or previously visited.

This search functionality seems to work just as well as it does on Chrome, and will help drag users back from Google's web browser, us included.

 

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