I’m a Google Guy. I use Android. I use Gmail. I even try to use Google+. I respect the Google that creates the crazy ideas, that strives to embrace its engineer’s mindset, while also meeting consumer needs and the designer’s wants. I have been a user of Chrome since its public inception, and I’ve carried it with me across platforms – Windows, Linux, and OS X. It’s always been my browser of choice, for a number of reasons. From the Omnibar (still the best URL/Search bar in a web browser) to the new synchronization capabilities, Chrome has been the best fit for my needs.
But I’ve left it. And for Safari 6, no less. Safari, long the underdog (although, arguably, the champion of the Mac) has, along with Mountain Lion, helped me to leave Chrome. Chrome is still installed, but only for sites that either require Flash, or that simply do not play nicely with Safari. Safari 6 on Mountain Lion has left Chrome utterly in its tracks in how smooth the browser is, and perceived performance.
Safari 6 is fast. Benchmarks don’t do it justice. While I have always been satisfied with Chrome, Safari 6 reminds me that I shouldn’t have to settle for less. Safari 6 is, on almost every website I visit, the clear winner in load time. Whatever Apple has done in this simultaneous release of Safari and Mountain Lion is fantastic.
But that isn’t all – the most important feature Safari 6 has over Chrome isn’t shown in benchmarks. It isn’t shown in anything but real usage: where Chrome would stutter, where Chrome would hesitate, Safari scrolls right through it. In Mountain Lion, browsing the web on Safari is less like using a traditional computer and more akin to the effortless scrolling and rendering exhibited in the iPad. Trying the exact same action on Chrome for Mac is an exercise in frustration.
This is a classic example of the Apple playbook. Apple didn’t add any insanely great features (although the tab preview is nice). They didn’t reinvent the web browser. Instead, Safari 6 represents a great upgrade in that it has made a more stable, and more smooth, platform to browse the web on. All web browsers are portals – they aim to simply be the blank canvas that the talented designers of the web can paint their content and creations on. Apple came in and provided a much better canvas for Mac users than Google has, or probably ever will.