So I genuinely tried to use Safari for 30 days, as opposed to my browser of choice: Google Chome. I made the decision to try it out because Safari is Apple’s integrated browser and is supposed to play well with iOS devices. Owning the “Apple 3,” a Macbook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad, I figured that if there’s a browser that can be automatically kept in sync on all 3, why not? Turns out it’s not really worth it.
The main reason I wanted to really get my browsers in snyc was for the iCloud Tabs. Chrome already had this functionality, but the browser itself is not the primary one on iDevices and most in-app browsers are not as good as Safari on iOS, and when you want to open the page in a browser, the usual option tends to be Safari. It turns out that my desire of synchronization across multiplatform browsers was more minimal than I thought. Google Chrome has offered this feature for a while, but dealing with the work around of opening a page on an iOS device on Chrome, opening it in Safari, marking it as read for later, or just leaving it open Chrome and using Chrome’s cloud tabbing and opening whatever I was doing on one of my other devices. Regardless, this one work around is better than the others I had to learn to do to work with Safari.
Not to say Safari is a bad browser at all. On the contrary, it is pretty good. It does a majority of web browsing fairly easily, and a few of the User Interface functionalities are pretty well done. Being in the phase of my life where I am applying to a lot of jobs, I’m a senior in College currently, and having to deal with a lot of corporate websites, Safari did not play well. This has far much more to do with how the online job application websites have been built. Their over all functionality is just terrible (a UI/UX I will be writing about in the future) and needs a complete overhaul. When Aside from these Internet Explorer and occasionally Mozzilla Firefox optimized websites, the web was the web.
I noticed strange latency on Reddit though. When I would be looking at something on Reddit, click a link, be taken to a website, then want to go back to Reddit, the whole page would have to completely re-rendered. Not a terrible issue, but sometimes it would get “stuck” and the screen would white out. I would have to stop the browser and then the older iteration would show up again. A hassle that I would have to consider. A little irk I just did not want to deal with.
When moving tabs from one window to another, its very quick and responsive. But then it can also get a little annoying, trying to move a tab from a window that has only one tab open does not really happen to nicely. Tabbing in general is not really Safari’s forte. In chrome, you can highlight a piece of text and have Google run a search for it. The nice feature about this is that it opens up in a different tab and it also does not just open the tab, but does it in the background, leaving me to continue what I was doing uninterrupted. Safari does… neither. You get to highlight text and search, only you are forced to search in your current tab and you lose your current page. The mental work around was then to copy, open a new tab, paste, and search. Nothing “oh so horrendous,” but there’s just a better, simpler way to do it.
Apple’s Top Sites is a nice feature. It looks pretty, animates pretty, and is… pretty. It updates fairly well live and overall is one of the most aesthetically appealing aspects of the browser. You can get to it quickly from the short cut under the URL bar before the bookmarks start. It plays well and it runs well. Definitely worth the props of keeping my eyes engaged. The history is not so good though. Chrome immediately marks every tab you have closed. Safari… I was not sure what it was paying attention to. Sometimes in history I would find something I had just closed, a lot of times it was a few pages behind. I just felt like it was not keeping up.
The Read it Later, Reader, and Share feature were great additions in the recent t years though. Read it later allows you to make quick bookmark note that you want to read something later. If you have iCloud set up, all your devices now have it on Safari’s list, and from there you can simply just check the list and pick items. The Reader lets you strip out ads, formatting, and just make it very easy to read, great functionality for an iPad or an iPhone where screen real estate is limited. Sharing, now with Facebook, allows you to email or share socially the page your on, as well as mark as a bookmark or read it later.
The Bookmarks are their own issue though. Though Google’s bookmark manager is not much better in my opinion. Both are cumbersome, slow, and just downright unintuitive. I would imagine with all the social bookmark sharing alternatives that are out there might be why Google and Apple seem to have just left their bookmark managers to build up dust, but personally I think both need a massive overhaul with more built in features, like sharing and linking to social bookmark web apps. My personal intent was to keep my content synchronized among my down devise with minimal extra software first though, and Apple was able to do that, though keeping it clean was a little headache sometimes.
Extensions I never really dabbled in too much. Aside from Ad Blocker, there is not much else I choose to use. Even the number of extensions on my Chrome browser are fairly minimal. In essence I wanted to compare the fairly minimally extended experiences of each browser, and Chrome won out in the end. I went in thinking synchronized tabs would be an awesome addition, it took sometime for iOS devices to get it, and even after using it for little over a week, I came to the conclusion that while I like being able to open something here, look at it there, and continue it somewhere else, what I had to give up for an integrated solution was not worth it. Chrome is just a more intuitive browser. It just plays better with tech-savy heads. Being the 30th, I’ve switched back, and it’s like hanging out with an old-buddy after being gone for a little while dealing in a foreign environment. Things click and whirl like I have become used to.