Update: See Best Alternative Browser for the iOS
The Mac platform has three major Internet browsers: Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and Mozilla's Firefox. All three are very capable browsers that can run the latest webpages and web applications. Previous reviews have given Safari the edge, but all three have been recently updated. In light of these new updates, it is time to take a look at all three again and see how they compare.
Given that each is more than capable of browsing today's Internet, we will look deeper into the strengths and weaknesses to find a winner. The following list gives our browser ranking and a short review why they placed where they did.
3. Mozilla's Firefox
Firefox came in last for three reasons. The first is the lack of overall Mac like feel to the application. Firefox is written for all platforms and it shows. The fullscreen view does not have the same "Lion" polish as other applications that have been updated for the latest Apple OS. In a tight race between browsers, it can be a big deal breaker. Multi-touch gestures are also not supported. Mac Apps will always win out over applications that are ported from other platforms given similar feature sets. The second reason is the overall clunky feel to the browser. For example, a user can view the browser history just like in Safari, but they have to bring it up in a different window, unlike Safari which can be done in the menu. Firefox still has a number of major bugs, which is the last reason it came in third. The biggest issue is with sites that use Flash. Firefox can sit and use twenty percent of the computer's resources on a static flash page. On a laptop, this is a deal breaker. Unless you need it for specific sites or a specific plug-in, there really is no reason to download and install Firefox.
2. Google's Chrome
Chrome has been updated for Apple OS 10.7 Lion and does not have as many bugs has Firefox. Chrome is much more polished than Firefox and feels like a Mac application. The single address bar / search bar is a nice feature that some like and others don't. Everything is in a tab: from browser history to preferences. One problem with the interface is how it handles downloads. It puts every download in a bar at the bottom of the screen, including saved pictures. There are no options to auto hide this or clear it upon a successful download. Without those options, saving pictures can get very annoying. Google's lack of even basic options for obtrusive features is odd at best. Chrome is a nice browser with lots of plug-ins, but it can't beat the number one browser with it's unique features. Chrome makes a great second browser when one wants to use different security settings.
1. Apple's Safari
Apple's Safari browser is still the king of the browsers on the Mac. It's "ease of use" and "Mac look and feel" make it a very comfortable browser that just gets out of the way. Safari also has a number of great features like the download toolbar, toolbar shortcuts, and direct "save image to download folder" menu options, making it very difficult to move to other browsers after one is used to it. Simply put, there is no strong reason to download and install another web browser.