Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Apple releases public beta of Safari 3.0 for OS X, XP and Vista

Apple announced today the availability of the Safari 3.0 browser in public beta for OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Why is it significant?

The release of the iPod, a few years back, has brought back a lot of attention (and dollars) to Apple. With the MacBook astonishing popularity (and gradually steeling away users from Windows to Mac OS with the Boot Camp feature) and the upcoming iPhone buzz, Apple is building on its quality and ease of use reputation that has always been part of their culture. Safari 3.0 promise to be twice as fast as Internet Explorer, and 1.6 times faster than Firefox.

My first impression: I don't know if it's 3.0 times, but it's blazing fast under Vista!

Considering those who switched from MSIE to Firefox already know the drill, I suspect we'll see a lot of people moving from Firefox, or at least trying out Safari.

The web analytics perspective

Here's some impacts of this new browser from a web analytics perspective:
  • Web design: So far, I haven't found any site that didn't display correctly. That's good news!
  • Site functionalities: there seems to be some problems with JavaScript handling, but I haven't investigated it. I started writing this post using Safari under Windows Vista but had to switch to Firefox because I couldn't insert the image or save a draft... It's still beta.
  • Technographics: we'll start to see a new browser coming up in our reports, you might want to watch for the adoption rate and who will suffer from it.
  • Cookie handling:
    1. the default option is "Only from sites you navigate to: For example, not from advertisers on those sites".
    2. When private browsing is turned on, cookies are deleted.
Those last two point are very important. While building WASP, I noticed too many sites and web analytics solutions are still implemented with 3rd party cookies. This situation will only get worst (and unacceptable) in the near future. The "private browsing" option will inevitably impact the calculation of unique visitors.

Have you tried Safari? How will it impact web analytics?