Tag: web browser

A Browser Called ‘Browser’

Browser (not to be confused with Web, a Linux web browser formerly known as Epiphany) is a web browser on OS X that aims to be a collator of articles and other reading material around the internet. Browser is not used for web surfing, but merely browsing, as the name suggests.

Upon installing and starting up Browser, you’ll be greeted with a long and somewhat scary pop-up window that basically states: Browser is a pet project by the developer and used first and foremost for finding content, not for the standard uses of a normal web browser; it also poses a potential security risk, as data is stored on third-party servers, unless you have Dropbox enabled to back up your passwords and other Browser data.

After agreeing to the initial terms, there will be another pop-up asking if anyone under the age of 18 will be using Browser. “Yes” is highlighted as the default, and clicking this will keep “Private Mode” the same as with other browsers, with a little private-eye investigator in the top right-hand corner. If you’d like a good chuckle, choose “No” at this point, and you’ll be presented with “Porn Mode” and a rather risque icon.

Browser allows Pocket integration, “quickmarks”, bookmarks, repository links to be set up, and offers tagging and commentary to both for better sorting. “Quickmarks” are simply bookmarks with hotkeys set; one of the defaults includes Wikipedia, but of course they can all be changed within Preferences. While bookmarks are quite obvious, repository is Browser’s version of Safari’s reading list, where you can place websites and pages into it for later perusal. Adding bookmarks or repository links via the “Tab Inspector” button is nigh impossible, no matter how many times I tried. You can add them through the preset hotkeys, or manually going into the settings menu.

As with any beta piece of software, Browser has plenty to hammer out. Along with the aforementioned borked “Tab Inspector” button, Browser also has a tendency to freeze and crash at random intervals. At worse, Browser would not launch at all. When testing multiple tabs using Lifehacker as a guinea pig, Browser would not let me click links in one tab, but would let me click them in another.

The most baffling of bugs has to be the fullscreen function, which does not work–not fully, at least. When clicking on the fullscreen arrows at the upper right corner of Browser, the window moves onto the familiar grey backdrop without resizing at all. You can, however, bring it back to the current workspace through the normal method of hovering over the top of the screen to reveal the menu bar and clicking on the blue fullscreen button again.

For a daily driver, Browser is not recommended, not even by the developer. It is entirely too buggy, too unstable, and for the paranoid, too unsafe for anyone to call it their main web browser (for now). However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have its use in other affairs, such as managing web pages for later reading — as it’s meant to do — or if you need to quickly check a site without waiting for your main browser to load up. Maybe in the future, Browser will have worked through all its bumps and bruises, and be worth a look again.

Browser is available for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and above.

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