Safari 4 brings Chrome-like native interface, Cover Flow

If you install the latest version of Apple's Safari for Windows, you might think you've downloaded a new Google Chrome beta by mistake. Apple has completely revamped its web browser, losing the "Mac port" look of previous Windows releases and borrowing Chrome interface features, like tabs that poke into the window title bar and two icons that fill in for the missing menu bar.

The Safari 4 beta for Windows and Mac OS X is available right now from Apple's website. Aside from revamping the user interface, the company has added a handful of new features: Top Sites, which shows a 3D overview of the user's most visited sites; Cover Flow, which helps browse bookmarks and history iTunes-style; a new history search feature that can find content inside visited pages; a "smart address field" that looks straight out of Firefox 3; and new phishing and malware protection mechanisms.

There's also a new JavaScript engine called Nitro, which Apple claims is 4.2 times faster than the previous major Safari version. We took the new browser for a spin in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, and it looks like Apple has indeed made some improvements. Safari 4 scored 1777.6 ms, not a whole lot higher than Chrome's 1526.4 ms. The new Safari almost feels snappier for regular browsing, though.

Oh, and going along with the new, native look, Safari 4 no longer uses Apple's own text antialiasing system in Windows. Apple has even implemented auto-scroll support, a feature Google still hasn't added to public Chrome releases.

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