Safari blocks Chrome from being your default browser

You’ll note, Chrome is not an option and Safari is actually seizing the default browser option away from Chrome where I’ve also set it. I have no idea why there is more than one way to set a default application or why Apple is allowed to do this on Windows, but it’s damn sneaky.

2009-02-26_1214 - Safari defeats Chrome as default

Safari 4 Quick Take

2009-02-24_0954 Safari Top Sites

I just downloaded and installed Safari 4 on two machines – my work laptop (XP) and my netbook (Win7) which are both PC’s. It’s immediately noticeable how quickly pages render and that’s courtesy of Safari’s new javascript engine. Safari also brings HTML 5 and CSS 3 support which is great news for web app developers and Web 2 enthusiasts.

  • There are definitely some bugs though as you should expect in a beta. In Gmail, if you click a link within a message you get a new window instead of a tab which is how my preference is set. This is the same BS that exists in the current release of Safari.
  • Clicking the title on a Digg post opens the page in the current view rather than opening a tab as you see in Firefox and Chrome.  Interesting that this is the exact opposite of the way links are handled in the first point.
  • On both my systems (XP and 7) even with the preference set from within Safari, I am unable to get it to be the default browser.
  • I tried to install Gears which appeared to install, but on restart of Safari, I found the browser had reset – no saved bookmarks, passwords etc.  I’d only been using it for about 30 minutes so the loss was not severe, though annoying to have to re-enter things.
  • I can’t add a new bookmark (only a folder) in the bookmark manager.
  • It’s impossible to add a link to a post  using WordPress’ graphical editor as seen here:

link Fail in Safari 4 I’ve also noticed some striking similarities between Chrome and Safari … The Top Sites view (first image of the post) is very similar to the Most Visted view in Chrome though it seems to load a live view of sites when possible which is a nice touch. Safari has also moved the tabs to the top of the window panel and added two icons over on the right side of the upper chrome which are very similar to Chrome’s … On the left is Safari 4 and on the right is Chrome:

safari is like chrome 2009-02-24_0956 Chrome Corner

Sure the changed the wrench to the gear, but the options in both menus are very similar.

There’s a cover view option in bookmarks which will also look to show you a live view.  I don’t tend to use local bookmarks much aside from bookmarklets so this is not of much interest to me though I suppose would appeal to a more mainstream consumer.

I’ll probably play around some more but until I can get around the tab issues and the default browser setting, using Safari is annoying – even though it is seriously fast!

Chrome – It’s new and shiny

Google Chrome

I was very excited for the Chrome release today.  Spending as much time in the browser as we all do now the experience and performance are critical parts of the online experience.  While it’s a very early release, I definitely like what I see so far and look forward to tracking the progress forward as things evolve.  

I’m finding that the speed is decent.  Not hyper fast like they were promoting but then I am not running some javascript test page, I’m using a bunch of tabs and windows like I always do.  What Chrome does though which is generally get out of your way and let you experience the page or application a site is offering.  It’s very simple to create single window views like Fluid does on the Mac.  I’ve got that configured for gmail, google reader, wordpress and my office webmail … so far so good.  

Right now Chrome only works on a PC unless you compile it yourself.  My work machine, a Lenovo X61 is not having any issues with Chrome and I actually find it to be a very pleasant browser.  There are some subtle things about the UI that i really like and of course a few I would like to see changed.  

On the positive side, the window is about as full as it can be all the time which is awesome on my small screen and even better when connected to a larger monitor.  There’s no status bar on the bottom of the window, but when you hover over something that can be clicked on, you can see where it will go just like you know you can.  There are some slick overlays for downloads and completed downloads stick to the bottom of the window to remind you they are ready to be acted upon.  When things crash or go bad, only that tab seems to be effected and Chrome is able to save the state of things quite gracefully.  In my limited testing this afternoon, I’d say it does a much better job that Firefox 3 currently.  Not bad for a .2 release.

As you might expect with an early release, there are some bad things.  The one that’s making me nutty is that there is no way to email a page / link without using a bookmarklet.  I’ve got one for Gmail, but it makes sending a page or link to work collegues in Outlook take a few steps more than I’d like becuase I have to copy and paste twice to get both the link and title or content from the tab.  I’ve also noticed that there’s no way to get certain links working on Facebook which is a huge miss.  I was unable to “become a fan” or comment on someone’s status today and both links looked like they would work, but failed to do anything.  Back to Firefox … 

In general though Chrome is very smooth, very stable and really well done.  I’m looking forward to the fixes further optimizations and hopefully some plugins.  Of course I’d also like to install this on my Mac!

While they’ve only teased at this point, I would expect Chrome to be the browser in Android when it launches later this year.  We’ve already seen the power of webkit in mobile devices – first in the S60 browser and then of course with the iPhone.  Webkit has become the engine to beat (sorry Opera) in higher end mobile browsing.  My guess is that it will sync via some Google service and I hope that multiple computers will also sync eventually as well…. Google killed the Firefox sync extension recently and it seems quite clear now that those bits are being focused on their own developments.  It’s great that Chrome is open source and I hope Nokia is watching closely to see how they can improve their own S60 webkit browser as it’s clearly stagnated a bit since Apple came along with Mobile Safari.

Google Reader For iPhone Needs Keyboard Shorcuts

Yes I know the iPhone has no keyboard, so let’s just put that to the side….

There are however plenty of other devices that can take advantage of the excellent work that’s been done on the updated mobile UI which do have keyboards … like the Nokia N810 which runs a Mozilla browser and the N95 which has the S60 Webkit browser. The more I’ve used the latest Google Reader the more it’s clear that a very wide array of devices could be using this and why not add just a bit more functionality to enhance it that much more.

I’m thinking the N810 could probably get this going through a greasemonkey script … Anyone up to the challenge?

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What’s happening with the S60 browser?

I just caught a post in my reader, which is a bit alarming and rather disappointing if true.

There has not been a checkin to the S60 port in over 8 months… As far as I can tell, the port is dead… Does anyone know the status of the port? If the port is in fact dead, I would like to suggest that we tag (with some keyword, or component) all of the remaining S60 bugs and close them.

As I think back to the Mobile World Congress briefings and hands on time I had with the upcoming Nokia handsets, I don’t actually recall seeing anything new or different in the browser. I even saw some FP2 things, but nothing around the browser than would make you think there’s anything new to expect on that froont.

Has Nokia conceded mobile browsing to Apple? Aside from bringing the minimap, there’s not much going on here. Bookmarklets are missing as is the very basic ability to manually launch a new window – which is something I’ve griped about many times. The potential is there and the newer devices have enough horsepower, but we are left wanting more …

I’d love to hear what if anything is going on here …

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The Mobile Web: WebKit, Safari and the S60 browser

Web Browser for S60

I am sitting on a plane en route to the Web 2.0 Summit writing this on my N800, enjoying my time to write some things wihout distraction… aside from the guy in 11B reading this over my shoulder!

About two weeks ago, Tommi at the S60 Applications blog asked for feedback on the Nokia Beta Labs program. My initial thought is that it’s really a solid idea which enables the feedback loop via the blogosphere and certainly on the applications blog comments. I posted something similarly on Tommi’s site but now that some time has passed it seems that perhaps the focus could be on altering the existing status more rather than pushing out the new. Don’t get me wrong – I’m an applications junkie just like most of you, but I would like to see some renovation before building more.

When I attended the Evening with S60 event in NYC, I was told (incorrectly now) that the S60v3 FP1 browser would be released within 30 days to other S60v3 devices which was great news. I saw a massive spike in traffic after my update on this news which confirmed I was far from alone in looking for this type of update. Nokia, with the exception of Maps, seems to require a new unit to get what become device standard features (of course right after you) purchase your phone.

Of course, a long time has now passed and we’ve yet to see a release. Instead, we heard about the widgets which will be coming in FP2 probably in Q1 2008. Not to take away from widgets (I think I’ve seen the light a bit for very task specific information), the browser now seems a bit limited in one very key area thanks to some healthy competition from both the iPhone as well as Nokia’s own N800 . The iPhone has enabled a VERY rich use of tabs which make maintaining simultaneous activities online possible. The S60 browser can also do multiple tabs and actually does them quite well. There is NO WAY TO MANUALLY OPEN A NEW WINDOW.

The hack I’ve found for this is silly, and takes longer than I would like to get going, but has now become a part of my browsing process on the N95-3.

  • You first have to set the window preference to allow pop-ups. This will allow ads to pop up or under … no way around that I know.
  • Once this is on, you visit a site that forces links to spawn in new windows. My choice for this is the site as it’s mobile optimized and loads very quickly. I can get a few windows going right away and move about my business. I usually maintain 3-4 tabs now…
  • Once you have a second, third or even fourth window open, you can press 5 to see your tabs and then using the nav key move either left or right to select which site you want. Pressing the center key selects and opens a more full view. From the tabbed view, you can use the left soft key to see th options for tabs which let you close either the current or all other tabs you have open.

The browser is the perfect candidate for a quick beta release through the labs. Many devices do not have enough RAM to browse in this manner (yet) and it’s probably more power user than mass feature, but isn’t that who’s visting and using the beta labs anyway? We should not have to wait for a Firmware release (which we all know wipes the device fresh) or worse, a new device to get such aseemingly small adjustment. This really should be something we just have in devices like the N95-3, N95 8GB, N81, N81 8GB, E90 and as well as future devicess that have enough operating RAM to make this possible – which should cover all N and E-Series moving forward, right?

The iPhone has really turned the mobile browsing experience up on its head. Regardless of their true capabilities, all mobile devices are being compared to the iPhone. The fact that the same engine is used in S60 and the iPhone makes this even more open to scrutiny.

The N800, which does not share the webkit engine, can go toe-to-toe with the iPhone even defeating it with some complex sites, but requires a second purchase. This is great for both Nokia’s bottom line (as well as non Nokia handset users) It is admittedly far more enjoyable to browse on the larger screen, it’s not something you always want in your pocket.

There are some great mobile web applications and services which have sprung up seemingly overnight to support the million plus iPhones… How many S60 devices are there? Considerably more…

A device like the N95-3 should not be hamstrung by a missing feature like this. The game has changed a bit now and we need to look how others are doing things and what can be learned to improve what we have and what’s to come.

Love to hear your thoughts here…

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iPhone Browser Sync

As good as it is to have all your bookmarks with you on the iPhone I wish Safari had some of the other features you have on the desktop.

I’d really like to have some form management so it was easier to save logins and I’d like to see my keychain sync – or parts of it anyway that were relative to the browser. I suppose if we get an OTA sync and share function with Leopard as has been rumored we may be able to save logins to servers and other systems if that’s a device capability. For now, stronger management of my personal data would be most excellent.

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