A Chrome User Switches to Safari

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I’ve always been a multiple-browser kind of person. I used to prefer the aesthetic of Google Chrome and its angled tabs and great looking favicons in the browser. I used Firefox for website debugging and testing, but most of the time it supported nearly every standard out there.

But I was never able to really stick with Safari. Safari has always been capable, but I just didn’t prefer the design. Until Safari Technology Preview.

Safari Technology Preview is a long name for the beta version of Safari that I’ve been using exclusively on my new MacBook Pro ever since I got it in late July. I’ve always been at the least a two-browser guy, usually switching between Google Chrome and Safari, and 75% of my time would be in Chrome.

Not anymore. Safari (specifically Safari Technology Preview) has been outstanding for me. The most annoying thing for me has been resolved as well - favicons in tabs. That’s now a setting that you can toggle on and off and it also looks great on pinned tabs as well. I know it seems like a small thing to most people, but I even had John Gruber on Twitter respond to me talking about them - this was a very important visual thing in the browser to a lot of people.

Safari is fast. Granted, you can only get it on a Mac, but Safari consistently beats out Chrome, Opera, and Firefox in HTML load speed tests. There are also great privacy features as well - one thing as a Chrome user that you always need to assume is that Google is tracking, logging and even predicting your every keystroke online. Now I don’t visit any sites that I shouldn’t, so I’m not afraid of anyone tracking me - I just don’t want it. I know that Google is tracking me in other ways, but the problem is not that Google is tracking me to make my experience better, but that they’re tracking me to sell my data to the highest bidder. And when you give Google an inch, they’ll take a mile.

If it’s been a while since you took a look at Safari, I’d invite you to go back and try it. It’s already on your Mac, and if you want bleeding-edge versions of it, you can download Safari Technology Preview, now available through software update on macOS Mojave.

How Quickly We Forget »

A luxury once tried becomes a neccessity.

In the case of the mobile web and its status in 2015, we have forgotten what it was like just a decade ago.

In 2005, Windows Mobile, Motorola and Blackberry ruled the mobile browsing world with horrible WAP (Web Access Protocol) browsers, or what they liked to call browsers. The web experience, for the most part, was terrible and confusing. Which is why no one used it.

So this week when The Verge published their article attesting to how bad the mobile web is, I had to take a look back.

How quickly we forget.

It all changed with the iPhone. Suddenly you could view entire websites on Safari, and pinch to zoom on those sites to see in greater detail. Then, years later, circa 2012-ish, the mobile web started to take form. No longer did you have to build different websites for mobile and the desktop (even though, to this day, many websites still do just that), but you could build once and deploy everywhere. Squarespace is a great example of this - the very website you're reading right now was built on Squarespace, and I didn't have to write one bit of code for my mobile website, which always looks fantastic.

So for a blogger on a prominent internet tech website to write an article criticizing the mobile web when their very own site is part of the problem greatly irritates me.

The problem is not the mobile web. The problem is monetizing the mobile web. The Verge loads no less than twenty ads, trackers, and services that no doubt make them money for every page view but slow down the web experience on mobile terribly. iMore dealt with this criticisim a week or two ago.

And all this comes into the discussion because of one thing: Safari Content Blockers.

You see, in iOS 9, Apple is providing users a way to block all those ads and trackers (which take the form of various scripts in the webpages that you don't see), and that's not making some many websites who depend on these trackers for revenue very happy. I couldn't put it better than Marco Arment:

I’m interested in running a content blocker not because I don’t want to see ads, but because I feel the need to fight back against being opted in, without my knowledge or consent, to third-party collecting, tracking, and selling of my personal data just by following a link.

And if such blocking becomes a big problem for publishers, it’s up to them to switch to ad delivery methods without these privacy invasions.

And there's your big concern. Have you ever been browsing websites and then see ads on Facebook or Amazon for something you looked at recently? That's an invasion of your internet privacy. While some websites argue that just you visiting their site allows them to legally track you and catalog your data, that doesn't mean it's right.

Websites and the companies that monetize them are going to have to get better at the experience and better at not invading your internet privacy. Up until this point, it hasn't been an issue because people have largely ignored it.

Using Reading List in Safari

My confidence and trust in free services is at an all time low. Like many other geeks and early adopters, I’m focused on using services that I’ve paid for and for whom I am the customer and not the commodity... So in the arena of read-it-later services, I’ve been thinking about options where I would be considered the customer.
I realized that one company that I do trust, for whom I am the customer, offers such a service. But it’s one I never gave any consideration since it launched, I suppose because I was already enjoying some other service at the time. This company is Apple and the tool is Reading List.

Great writeup from Chris Bowler on Safari's Reading List, a service that no one uses (yet), but is right under Apple users' noses.