Apple's Safari 5: Great For Users, Bane For Publishers?


Safari 5 is Apple’s latest attempt to redefine the browser market, and includes several new features aimed at making browsing the web more user-friendly.

One of those features is the Reader icon in the browser’s smart address field. By clicking on that button, Safari 5 instantly eliminates blinking and flashing advertisements and turns an on-line article into a continuous, easy-to-read page.

That feature will be of interest to Web users who want to get past the distraction of online ads. However, for advertisers who depend on users clicking on such ads for revenue, the Reader icon will be an unwelcome addition to the new browser.

Safari 5 supports the HTML5 and CSS3 standards, but not Flash, keeping in line with Apples’ and CEO Steve Jobs’ push to eliminate Flash support from Apple products. That could disappoint users who access content such as games which support Flash, and advertisers and retailers whose Websites include Flash.

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However, Safari 5 does offer features which set it apart from other browsers such as Firefox or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

For instance, it renders Web pages for viewing on PCs, Macbooks, iPhones, iPods, and iPads. For mobile devices like the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, Safari 5 shifts Web pages and reformats them to fill the window regardless of vertical or horizontal orientation, and allows zooming in and out by pinching fingers on those devices’ Multi-Touch screens.

Safari 5 also keeps a running tally of Websites visited to create a page which displays up to 24 thumbnails of favorites for one-click access. It also remembers the text of all visited pages to let users quickly search through every visited site for access to remembered information.

The new browser includes a private browsing function that, when turned on by the user, stops recording visited sites, downloaded software and documents, searches, cookies, and keyed-in data. It also has a built-in pop-up blocker and a full range of encryption and identity protection features.