In the growing list of Mac browsers, Camino is a pure love hate relationship. You either love Camino, or you hate it. Alright. Maybe hate is too strong. Spell it ambivalent instead.
Camino is Firefox without all the features. Maybe it’s everything you want in a Mac browser, and nothing you don’t. Whatever it is, Camino is free, fast, mostly stable, not exactly lean, but not heavy with features—and very Mac-like.
Almost Firefox With A Mac Face
Here’s the skinny on Camino. It’s developed by Mozilla, the Firefox folks, as a Mac-only alternative to the popular Firefox. Camino actually started life before Firefox.
Why Camino? Because many Mac users hate the cluttered Firefox Windows look.
Count me as one who found Firefox too Windows-like, and who used Camino from time to time. Unfortunately, for most Mac users, me included, Camino doesn’t get used much at all, accounting for barely 1.5-percent of Mac360’s readers in the past three years, but far less than 1-percent in the past year.
What happened? First, there’s a glut of Mac browsers and Camino gets lost in the shuffle. Sure, it looks like a Mac browser—it’s fast and stable and secure. But Camino suffers from an identity crisis.
It’s not Safari. It’s not Firefox. It’s not Chrome. It’s not SeaMonkey. It’s Camino—but the only notable differentiator is that Camino is not any of the other browsers.
Camino has plenty of basic, must-have browser features. There’s a neat Tab Overview which lets you see all your open tabs with a click. Phishing and malware protection is built in (identical to those in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome).
Annoyance blocking? Camino can stop pop ups, ads, and Flash animation, and gives you exception features. The tabbed windows can be moved around, re-arranged (similar to Firefox), and Camino uses the Mac OS X Keychain to handle usernames and passwords for web sites (compatible with Safari).
Still not convinced there’s enough in Camino to make it worthwhile for your browsing habits? There’s AppleScript support, an option to zoom in on the whole web page (instead of just increasing font size), and a nice Save Session feature that brings you back to the pages you were visiting when you had to quit Camino.
See? Nothing special. Just the browser basics.
There are a few differences, though.
Camino uses the spell checker in Mac OS X instead of the proprietary checker in Firefox. Don’t you hate it when you accidentally close a window with tabs and pages you don’t want to close? Camino has a History menu that remembers the last 20 closed web pages.
Camino doesn’t do RSS and Atom feeds other than knowing what they are and sending them to whichever feed reader you’re using today. Other than that, Camino doesn’t really shine in any particular way—other than it looks better than Firefox and Chrome, forgoing the Firefox feature list and extensions, and forgoing Chrome’s built-in ugliness.
As a modern browser goes, Camino is relatively fast at loading web pages—similar to Firefox, but slower than Safari or Chrome, with fewer features than either, and far less than Firefox.
So, why does Camino exist? In the age of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, the number of Camino users appears to be dropping (at least on Mac360 over the past two years). See? It’s that love hate (ambivalent) relationship again. Camino is free. I keep it on my Mac. But I don’t use it much. What does that say?