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Web Browser Grand Prix: Firefox 15, Safari 6, OS X Mountain Lion

The Top Four Browsers, Tested And Ranked

But before we find out, let's get everyone caught up on the latest happenings in the world of Web browsers.

Recent News And Events

07/17/12: MSFT Faces EU Probe Over Browser Ballot Compliance
07/25/12: Apple releases Safari 6 along with OS X 10.8 'Mountain Lion'
07/25/12: RockSalt Could Pave Way to Safe Native Apps in Browsers
07/26/12: Did Apple Just Kill Safari for Windows?
07/28/12: Firefox Add-ons Reach 3 Billion Downloads
07/31/12: Google releases Chrome 21
08/02/12: Mountain Lion: Three Million Downloads in Four Days
08/02/12: Opera updates to 12.01
08/06/12: Microsoft Finally Intros Its Own WebRTC Proposal
08/09/12: Microsoft Sticks to 'Do Not Track' Plans for IE in Windows 8
08/15/12: Mozilla's Firefox OS Ported to Raspberry Pi
08/16/12: Google Increases Rewards for Bug Catchers...Again
08/20/12: Break Google's Chrome, Get Up to $2 Million
08/20/12: Mozilla Rechallenges Google in Browser Speed Race
08/23/12: Google Introduces Octane Browser Benchmark
08/28/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 15
08/29/12: Mozilla Ports Full FPS Engine to WebGL; Playable Demo
08/27/12: Google Patents WYSIWYG Printing for Web Apps
09/02/12: Google's Chrome Browser is Now 4 Years Old

And Then There Were Four...

While the latest version of Safari for Windows (v5.1.7) is available for download on the Apple support pages, links to any mention of a Windows version have been completely removed from the Safari product pages on Apple's website. Notably, Apple no longer attempts to bundle Safari with the iTunes and QuickTime downloads either. And although Apple refuses to comment on Safari for Windows, the writing is on the wall.

I want to take a moment to relate our experience with Apple Safari, which unfortunately, never saw the light of day.

Web Browser Grand Prix 0: Safari's Finest Hour

In the months of preliminary testing and benchmark gathering, which eventually coalesced into the first Web Browser Grand Prix, Safari was the front-runner. Before Chrome 4 and Opera 10 came along, Safari dominated the Windows landscape in terms of performance. In fact, Safari 3 becoming available for Windows was the real catalyst for the browser speed wars we've seen over the past few years, and not the debut of Google Chrome, as most people seem to think.

Mere weeks before the first Web Browser Grand Prix published, Safari had a lock on the (then) purely speed-based test suite. It was looking like a landslide. In the end, though, it all came down to unfortunate timing for Apple, as Chrome 4 and Opera 10 emerged just before we began testing. In my mind, Safari 4 is the Champion of the Web Browser Grand Prix that never was.

If you're one of the few Windows users who loved Safari, our sincere regards. Even if you only liked the browser in order to hate on it, the loss of one of the five major players is a loss for all. The more competition between Web browsers, the better. The more browsers, the more fractured the market. The more fractured the market, the better and more important standards become. And when you have open, universally-recognized standards, new players can compete more readily, and any company looking to impose vendor lock-in on the Web will have a much harder time doing so.

Let us observe a quick non-denominational moment of silence in honor of Safari for Windows...

OK, that was enough. Let's ditch this funeral and hit the track!

  • glurg
    chrome ftw
    Reply
  • Eggrenade
    It would be nice if I could view the additional charts with only one click, and not in a separate window.
    Reply
  • lahawzel
    It's nice to see Chrome performing so well, but I'm still waiting on the Chrome equivalents of all the plugins I use in FF before I think about switching. The web just doesn't feel the same without them.

    (The nice popular ones like ABP, Lazarus, Greasemonkey all have equivalents; some lesser-used plugins like Rikaichan also have ports by now. Only a matter of time!)
    Reply
  • bennaye
    chrome is absolutely deserving of the award. say what you will about the frequent patch releases touted as upgrades, chrome is a very good browser, as shown by this month's article. even on OSX there is only a small margin separating chrome and safari. but the one qualm i do have with chrome is the lack of add-ons compared to firefox. and i a lot of people share this concern. the add-ons do make the experience that much better.

    as always, a great read.
    Reply
  • Would like to see this again after IE10 is released.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    How about 64-bit Internet Explorer 9 vs Waterfox 15.0?
    Reply
  • adamovera
    bennayechrome is absolutely deserving of the award. say what you will about the frequent patch releases touted as upgrades, chrome is a very good browser, as shown by this month's article. even on OSX there is only a small margin separating chrome and safari. but the one qualm i do have with chrome is the lack of add-ons compared to firefox. and i a lot of people share this concern. the add-ons do make the experience that much better.as always, a great read.All versions of Chrome hold up incredibly well cross-platform, if you look back at the two Linux WBGPs, it won there, too. Thanks for reading!
    Reply
  • adamovera
    AdamsTaiwanWould like to see this again after IE10 is released.Absolutely, a Windows 8-based WBGP is already in the cards for October.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    JOSHSKORNHow about 64-bit Internet Explorer 9 vs Waterfox 15.0?When we have more stable 64-bit browsers, I'll definitely do a 64-bit WBGP - including versus their 32-bit counterparts.
    Reply
  • I wish Tom's would fiddle around with the settings of these browsers for these tests. In every System Builder Marathon you overclock the builds, why not try and crank the most speed while ensuring better memory management out of the browser as well?

    Testing these browsers at stock doesn't reveal even an eighth of the picture.
    Reply