UPDATED 16:54 EST / FEBRUARY 24 2009

Safari Beta 4 Seems to Visually Impress, But Not Much Else

As you’ve probably heard, Safari Beta 4 is out, and the list of updates have been chronicled all over the place.  The changes seem to be limited to a bit of a speed upgrade and a lot of user-interface changes, most of which look pretty attractive in the thumbnails I’ve seen.  I’ve personally never been a huge fan of Safari, but mostly because of certain incompatibilities that arise on the PC between the browser and the WordPress interface, a problem that seems to persist in this version.

How does this version of the browser seem to stack up with the Apple early adopters, though? Most of the reviews I came across by the usual suspects were dutifully positive, but seemed to have an undercurrent of being generally underwhelmed.

Chris Pirillo tweeted: “New Safari beta (4) is out. The change in tab management is completely unnerving, annoying.”

I spoke to Mona Nomura, who installed it almost instantly. She said: “I reverted to beta (3). I’m waiting for the real functionality – this one seemed to be nothing significant, just UI changes.”

Loren Feldman said simply that: “Safari is insanely fast.”

Veronica Belmont declared: “Giving the Safari 4 beta a try, but my love for Camino runs strong. Safari will really need to step up it’s game.”

The iTunes like thumbnail navigation appears to be a big winner in terms of generating blog buzz, but it doesn’t look like this release is going to really move the needle much in terms of adoption.  Even though the Acid3 compliance and the faster loading is clearly a stab at Chrome (the start of the Chrome Wars, as Louis Gray suggests?), too much of the actual functionality of the browser seems untouched for there to be many converts from this attempt.


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