Apple Releases Public Beta of Safari 4

Apple on Tuesday released a public beta of Safari 4, the next generation of its Internet Web browser.

Apple touts the Nitro engine at the heart of Safari as running JavaScript over 4 times as fast as Safari 3, up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and three times faster than Firefox. Nitro also allows Safari 4 to load HTML pages three times faster than IE 7, according to Apple.

Other new features in Safari 4 include Top Sites, giving users a visual preview of frequently visited pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks; and Tabs on Top, to make tabbed browsing easier.

"Safari has always been all about performance, innovative features and web standards,"said Brian Croll, senior director system software, Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari 4 takes the next big step in driving innovation in browsers."

The new version of Safari also includes a Smart Address field and Smart Search. Smart Address will automatically show a drop down menu when you begin typing a URL into the address field. It shows the top hit, suggestions from your Bookmarks and suggestions from your history. Smart search gives you suggestions from Google and previous searches that you've made using Safari.

If you want to revisit a Web site you went to a few days ago, but can't remember what it was, searching your history just got a lot easier. With Safari 4, you can search your history based on the URL, page title or even text contained in the pages itself.

Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies so web-based applications can store information locally without an Internet connection. The browser also supports advanced CSS effects.

Safari 4 public beta is free and available now for download from Apple's Web site.

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