It wasn’t too long ago that news emerged that Apple’s web browser, and the default browser on Mac OS X, Safari 5.0, was following in the footsteps of Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome by offering support for third-party extensions.
Well, those of you who keep up to date with your software updates will have noticed that the latest Safari update, 5.0.1, finally brings the Extensions gallery to the masses.
In addition to the opening of the extensions gallery, the update also brings with it a variety of fixes including improving the accuracy of ‘top hit’ results in the address fields and better stability for scrolling and keyboard shortcuts.
Apple’s recent integration of Bing takes another step in the ‘right’ direction (I say ‘right’ because the jury is still out on Bing as a whole in my opinion) as there is a dedicated extension to enabling extra Bing functionality called ‘Bing Highlights’, which allows you to highlight text to find maps, translations, flight status’ and traditional search results.
The rest of the extensions gallery is fairly well stocked too, considering it is still a fledgling service compared to the likes of Firefox and Chrome. There is a Twitter feed extension, Amazon wish lists, New York Times updates, eBay manager to name just a few of the major players in the gallery. But there are also some relatively small time extensions in there, which add useful functionality to the already impressive web browser.
The Gallery itself is found (on Mac OS X) via the menu bar and is easily located and navigated once you are there. It is extremely similar to the App Store and installing the extensions is just a case of clicking ‘install’. You can search or browse through categories including ‘news’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘social networking’ as well as many others.
I for one am extremely excited about the prospect, and with the number of extensions growing exponentially at the moment, it won’t be long before Safari’s catalogue of extensions is comparable to its rivals.
Also, with Apple’s fixation on restricting the type and quality of apps to be put onto the App Store, I suspect they will adopt a similar approach here, bringing with it the inevitable mixed reactions from users and developers, but for the most part it keeps it clean and tidy, and hopefully only the best, most reliable extensions will be available to the end user.