I’ve been running this for a few days now. It seems about as stable as the previous version – I get about one crash per day. However, speed and compatibility seem improved. I’ve never seen any sense in forms auto-fill and similar automations, so I’m keeping this off. In fact, I wish the autocompletion in the URL field were less aggressive; I often delete trailing characters in the URL only to have Safari put them back a fraction of a second before I hit Return. This often happens several times in a row; IMHO the correct way would be for the user to explicitly accept the completion by hitting Tab, which I believe is the standard.

The hot feature are of course the browser tabs. I’ve never used this before in other browsers and was quite skeptical. However, tabs in Safari turn out to be surprisingly useful in certain circumstances. For instance, I set up a “Comics” folder on my Bookmarks Bar with bookmarks to all comics I read daily; command-click on the folder name, and all comics are opened in the same window, one to a tab.

On the other hand, I also have several other bookmark groups on the bar which I definitely don’t want to open as a tab group under any circumstances – especially as some of them are rather large. As Safari previously required the user to press command before opening a bookmark from a popup menu in a new window (other browsers test the command key at mouse-up time instead), the first couple of days had me constantly opening dozens of unwanted tabs at the same time, requiring immediate closing of the window and sometimes even force-quitting.

I also wish that Safari were a little more consistent in checking for the command and shift key signals to indicate a new tab or new window. As it is, directly opening a bookmark from a popup menu in a new tab is now impossible; you have to generate a new tab with command-T and then open the bookmark there. Holding command down while selecting an URL from the History menu opens no new tab either. I hope this is just an oversight…

As expected, reactions to the new Safari are mostly positive. Here’s a great comment from Bill Palmer:

…if this is still beta, then I’m a giraffe.

…Somehow, after all those years of watching Microsoft use Explorer to slowly, nastily, illegally choke the life out of Netscape on both platforms, Apple manages to blow Explorer off the face of the Mac platform in a matter of months…with a product that’s not even finished yet?

…Something tells me that deep in the dark recesses of his mind, Steve Jobs had this all planned out five years ago when he made the original Internet Explorer deal with Microsoft in the first place. Now, Steve gets to kick back and watch Microsoft squirm, as he lounges around at the pool and maybe buys a record company or two…