The battle of the Web browsers: Opera 10.60
Opera the company, though, is not focused strictly on the browser. It continues to offer smart, out-of-the-box software that rethinks the current model. Opera Turbo, for instance, is a layer of proxy servers on fast Internet lines. Opera Turbo will fetch the pages for you, then compress them to save bandwidth. This may not be a big win for people with fast lines to their desk, but it should be valuable to mobile browsers with slower network connections and -- this is important -- tight limits on the amount of data that can be consumed each month.
Indeed, it's almost unfair to focus too much on the desktop version of Opera browser because the company is tightly connected with the mobile market. It continues to innovate and surprise me more than any of the other teams.
Best for: Raw speed and innovation.
Worst for: People who can't imagine straying from the pack.
Apple took the old Konqueror browser from the Linux world and injected a large amount of development talent to produce a very nice browser for Mac and Windows. Safari's WebKit engine is also the heart of the browsers in the iPhone and the iPad.
Safari is a very good option. The speed is competitive, the controls are simple yet comprehensive, and the developer tools are nice. Apple is just opening up an extensions gallery to the general public, and some developers have already ported popular extensions from Chrome and Firefox. There's nothing missing from Safari that a user might want, but on the other hand there's little to make Safari unique or irresistible.
The biggest interest in Safari on the desktop may come from the Web developers who want to target the iOS world of the iPhone and iPad. Creating customized Web pages is simple to do with a few extra tags, and the result often runs like a native app developed for the platform. Plus, Safari isn't the only browser built on WebKit. Google also uses the WebKit rendering engine for its Android phones, and the iOS and Android browsers behave similarly in many but not all cases. When RIM's BlackBerry team releases its own WebKit browser, WebKit's dominance of the mobile Web will be even greater.
Best for: Web developers who want to support WebKit phones.
Worst for: Lovers of extensions and add-ons.
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This story, "The Best Web Browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari?" was originally published by InfoWorld.