About a year ago I started using Google Chrome on all my Macs. Previously, since its Firebird days on Windows, I had been a Firefox stalwart, but Chrome promised to be faster and had a much more Mac-like user interface.
When I upgraded to OS X Lion I forced myself to try Safari 5, tempted by the promise of iCloud syncing of bookmarks to my iPad and iPhone. There were however three major features that I had grown to love in Chrome that Safari lacked and were stopping me from fully switching: the Omnibox, tab shortcuts and extensions.
The following free tools bridge the gap and mean I can happily switch my default browser to Safari.
I started by installing the first of Olivier Poitrey’s two Safari plug-ins. SafariOmnibar mimics Chrome’s Omnibox, combining the search field and address bar into a single field.
With an Omnibar/box I don’t need to think about where I’m trying to go – I’m either taken to a URL or Google searches for me.
Packaged with the installer is SIMBL which allows you to patch applications like Safari. SafariOmnibar requires this.
Keyboard shortcuts for tabs
Olivier’s second plug-in allows you to use the
cmd and number keys to switch between tabs in a window, e.g.
1 to switch to the first tab,
2 to switch to the second tab, etc.
When browsing, my thumb and fingers hover over these keys and my muscle memory is so tied to these combinations that I’m much less efficient without them. By default Safari maps these keys to the bookmark bar links. I much prefer to switch tabs with them instead.
Finally, although extensions have been available in Safari since version 4, I hadn’t tried them before. A Flash-blocker is a must-have and the following one works well. Also, I prefer toolbar buttons for adding links to Instapaper or Delicious.