When it comes to Mac browsers, we live in the best of times. Gone are the worst of times. No more buggy Microsoft Internet Explorer. No more AOL Explorer.
Instead, Mac users can be treated to an uncommon browser which traces a history back to the dark ages of browsers—pre-Microsoft. It’s a solid, dependable, fast browser with more think different features than Lady Gaga.
Pay Homage To NeXT, Oh Ancient Browser
Fond of history? Web browsers go back to the early 1990s, pre-Safari and Firefox, even pre-Internet Explorer. Back in the day it was Mosaic, Lynx, and MacWeb that dazzled Mac users venturing onto the internet for the first time.
Among those pre-Internet Explorer efforts was the little browser that could.
And still does. OmniWeb.
If you’re a Mac user and you want your browsing effort to truly think different, give OmniWeb a look. But hurry. Browsers come and go, and this one’s heyday is gone already.
The Truly Think Different Browser
When Apple launched Safari, and Mozilla launched Firefox, OmniWeb’s chances of long term popularity sank farther and deeper than Congress’ approval rating. That’s a shame, because OmniWeb is a delight to use, thoroughly Mac-like (or, NeXT-like), bristling with think different features.
Once you’ve used visual tabs you’ll wonder why it’s not standard on all browsers.
Safari and Firefox (and other Mac browsers) can save tab sessions, so when you start up later, you go right back to the web pages you were viewing. Omniweb brings you Workspaces instead.
These are individual browsing sessions that can be saved and recalled whenever you want.
Workspaces is old news for OmniWeb users, but again, once you try it you’ll wonder why it’s not on more browsers.
Preferences? We Got Preferences
There are Mac users who don’t care to monkey around in Preference settings. And, there are those of us who love the point and click, eye candy fun of twiddling around in Preferences.
OmniWeb got preferences.
General Preferences range from setting the Default Web Browser or Feed Reader (try finding that preference setting in OS X), to which side to open the slide out drawer.
Slide out drawer? OmniWeb gives you granular controls on tabs and windows, bookmarks, browser history, shortcuts, and plug-ins.
Page rendering is very fast. You can block ads, change font style and size, and override page styles (a throwback to browsers of the last century). Bookmark management seems similar to Safari (indeed, OmniWeb uses the WebKit rendering engine found in Safari, Chrome, and other browsers).
Mac power users will like OmniWeb’s Shortcuts feature which assigns keyboard shortcuts to specific web sites.
No more mouse clicking to get from here to there.
My favorite preference is OmniWeb’s unique Site-specific Preferences, which give more controls over display on a per site basis—control where to save downloads, which sites to allow pop up windows to appear, and more.
All these think different features are truly Mac-like, comfortable, usable, and interact as if they’ve been around and available for a couple of decades. Almost. And alas.
OmniWeb has been around the block, but suffers the same malady as other non-popular Mac browsers. Beyond Safari, Firefox, and Google’s new Chrome, OmniWeb joins a list of flashy, sassy, competitive, feature-laden browsers that just don’t get no respect.
To use OmniWeb is to like it, but online usage by Mac users has dwindled in recent years, and so has ongoing development by The Omni Group. That’s a shame, too, because Omni has a good reputation for thinking as different as Apple.