Safari 3.1 – A New Player to the Windows Browser Mix

A new contender may be emerging into the Windows web browser arena. After making a number of much-needed updates to Safari 3.0 beta, Apple has begun pushing users to install Safari 3.1 for Windows. This push has been welcoming for some, but somewhat of an annoyance for others.

As with a lot of the pushback that is sparked when companies try to force updates on users, as was the case with Facebook Beacon, Apple’s push of Safari 3.1 has been in the form of a default opt-in update. For those running iTunes, Apple has begun prompting users to install Safari 3.1 for Windows as part of their Software Update, even though it is not applicable to improving the functionality or security of iTunes itself.

While many people are disgruntled by the tactic employed by Apple to induce involuntary download, there are others who can’t wait to test their new browser.

Apple has made a number of improvements to Safari, which include standards compliance enhancements, increased speed, and a more efficient use of memory. And after initial tests, a number of users are claiming that Safari 3.1 will rival Internet Explorer and Firefox, and that certain features of Apple’s new browser surpass those of browsers put out by Microsoft and Mozilla.

According to W3Schools statistics, just 2% of users browsed the Web using Safari last month. Internet Explorer still maintains the bulk of usage at over 50%, and Firefox has now captured over 36% of the overall browser usage market share. We can expect to see Safari’s market share increase a bit in the months to come, but only time will tell whether or not Apple will differentiate its browser enough to break the current browsing habits of a significant number of users.

For webmasters, this could soon mean site compatibility testing in yet another browser.