Apple claims to be the innovating technology company. Sometimes our Mac maker takes awhile to join the party. For example, it took almost 25 years for Apple to deliver a two-button mouse to Mac users.
What about browser extensions? Firefox had them years ago. Google’s newbie Chrome browser had them. Finally, extensions for Safari get the blessings from Cupertino. Here’s the Top 13 Best Safari Extensions.
Curating Extensions For Fun, Not Profit
Apple can rightly be called the Gadget Curator of the 21st Century because the company wants the user experience—Mac, iPhone, iPod—to be uniform, pleasing, and mostly trouble free.
Apple’s iPhone App Store is a curated environment where apps have to be approved.
Apple’s Extensions Gallery is the place to go for one-click installations of the extensions Apple likes best.
The Top 13 Safari Extensions
A year from now we’ll have many hundreds of extensions for Safari. For now, there are less than two dozen extension categories in the Extensions Gallery. These are the ones the Mac360 staff likes best (all currently available from Apple’s gallery).
#13 – Shortly: Trimming lengthy and ugly URLs for Twitter and email is made easier with Shortly.
#12 – Fox News Ticker: If imaginary news from the Daily Show or Onion News isn’t enough, there’s always the Fox News Ticker extension to show you what’s happening when facts don’t matter.
#11 – New York Times: Breaking news and liberal media news require two separate extensions for lovers of The New York Times. Install both with two clicks.
#10 – Twitter: As if there are not enough Twitter apps available for Mac users, and despite the fact that Safari and Twitter work just fine together, there’s Twitter for Safari. It’s another way to Tweet.
#9 – MLB Toolbar: I likes me some baseball and the MLB Toolbar brings scores and status right to Safari.
#8 – LastPass: If you’re in need of multi-platform, multi-browser, multi-device password management, LastPass is the first place to go—now residing comfortably in Safari.
#7 – LittleSnapper: There’s no easier or faster way to capture a web page, comment, and rate it with just a click. It’s like having a LittleSnapper widget inside Safari.
#6 – Add To Google Reader: Grab an RSS feed from a web site and click to add it to Google Reader without using your cumbersome, standalone RSS reader.
#5 – Better Facebook: Is it possible to make Facebook better? Easy, actually. Better Facebook customizes the Facebook news feed and adds filters to hide posts you’ve read, even notify you when you’ve been un-friended.
#4 – Instapaperit: If you’re an Instapaper fan (and what right thinking person isn’t?) then you’ll like a one click way to send links to your Instapaper account.
#3 – Coda Notes: One click gets you a special toolbar in Safari with a pen tool, eraser, sticky notes, and editable text you can use on a web page—then take a screen shot of the web page and email it.
#2 – 1-Click Weather: The Weather Channel is hip, chic, cool, and totally with it by getting its own Safari extension. It’s still just the weather and you can’t do anything about it.
#1 – Daring Fireball with Comments: My favorite Safari extension. One of the more popular sites on the web for Apple aficionados is John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. This great extension makes it possible to read and post comments on DF. Unfortunately, the font in the user comments matches that of the DF site perfectly, instead of using the more classy Comic Sans.
Apple makes it easy to install extensions in Safari 5. If you visit the Extensions Gallery, it’s merely a matter of selecting the extension you want, then click the Install Now button.
Extensions are automatically added to the Extensions tab in Safari’s Preferences (you can also disable or uninstall extensions).
If you’ve used Firefox for a few years and have browsed their extensions you’ll notice one thing. There are far fewer extensions for Safari 5. Today. A year from now there’ll be many more, with improved quality and functionality.
Apple makes it easy to find and install extensions but even with the latest version I’ve had extensions stop working completely a few times, requiring a Safari restart. Extensions suffer the same inconvenience as the Mac’s Menubar. Real estate. Space is limited in the Menubar, and limited in Safari’s toolbar area, so choose extensions wisely.
One could argue that Safari extensions are nothing more than colorless, limited function Dashboard Widgets wedded to Safari and that would be an accurate assessment. For now, Safari users have a limited number of extensions to consider. That limit will change by this time next year.