Chrome on Mac is apparently now faster than Safari

Google has announced that the latest version of its Chrome browser is faster than ever for Mac users.

The company says that its new Chrome M99 release for Mac has achieved greater speeds than ever before as it looks to streak ahead of its rivals.

A raft of improvements and optimizations now means that Chrome is 7% faster than the current builds of Safari, the company claims, alongside a 15% difference in graphics performance.

Chrome vs Safari

Among the changes to Chrome is ThinLTO, a build optimization technique that inlines speed-critical parts of the code base, even when they span multiple files or libraries.

When it comes to graphics performance, Google highlighted the effect of pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization technologies in giving Chrome a boost.

It also mentioned the use of Sparkplug, a new JavaScript compiler that offers a particular boost for Apple M1-based Macs thanks to its ability to generate efficient code with low compilation overhead, and short builtin calls, which are used by JavaScript  to optimize the placement of generated code inside the device’s memory.

Overall, Google says the cumulative effect of all these changes is that Chrome is now 43% faster than it was when it was first launched on M1-based Macs in late 2020.

“We go deep on every platform where Chrome runs to provide the fastest possible experience,” Google's Max Christoff, Senior Director, Chrome Engineering, said in a blog post announcing the news. 

“Every day, billions of people around the world turn to Chrome to get things done quickly on their devices, whether shopping for a new pair of headphones or pulling together a sales report for work. Nothing is more frustrating than having a slow experience while browsing the web. That’s why Chrome has always been focused on building the fastest possible browser since its launch in 2008, without compromising on feature functionality or security.”

Google added that Chrome Android users should also be enjoying a speed boost, with the browser up to 15% faster according to its data due to new optimized navigation technology that prioritizes critical navigation moments.

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Safari may be getting a better dark mode in rumored update for iOS 15

Safari in iOS 15 looks to be getting its own dark mode function, alongside better features for your privacy involving cookies.

Apple's web browser works off an engine called WebKit, similar to how Google's Chrome browser is powered by an engine called Chromium.

But as WebKit is an open-source project hosted on GitHub, which allows any developer to add their programming to the engine, there have been some new features uncovered that may see an appearance in iOS 15.4, or iOS 16.

While there may be a rumored March event coming, it does raise the question of whether more regular updates should appear to Apple's apps, instead of waiting for a major iOS update every year.

Analysis: More regular updates for Safari are very welcome

Safari on iPadOS 15 Beta

(Image credit: Apple)

In the last few years, since iOS 13, Apple has made a concerted effort to roll out more features to its software across multiple releases, instead of aiming to have all of them arrive in one big release alongside the latest iPhone.

iOS 13.4 was a great example where mouse support was brought to the iPad line, alongside the Magic Keyboard peripheral which included a trackpad.

But Safari has had a rough ride recently, with its new design at WWDC 2021 criticized by users, then rolled back significantly once iOS 15 and macOS Monterey were released in September 2021.

There's currently a design that is halfway between what was shown in 2021, and what every Apple user has had since Safari 1.0 in 2007 with the original iPhone.

However, new features such as a custom dark mode and more privacy options could give more faith to users of Apple's web browser that the company isn't focusing on a new look that just wasn't needed or asked for. Instead, there are features coming up that's going to benefit their privacy, and how the browser will look in a different shade of dark.

For that, at least, is a sign that Apple is not only listening to what its users want in software, but also bringing the features out for .1 releases, way before the rumored WWDC event happens in June this year once again and we most likely hear about what the company has in store for its next major software updates.

Via 9To5Mac

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Microsoft Edge set to dethrone Safari in desktop browser rankings

The improvements and new features Microsoft has added to its browser over the years are beginning to pay off as figures show Microsoft Edge is on the verge of surpassing Safari on desktop.

According to data from web analytics service StatCounter, Edge is now used on 9.54% of desktops worldwide, ahead of Firefox with 9.18% and just behind Safari at 9.84%. 

As you may have guessed, Google Chrome still holds the top spot at 65.38%.

Edge vs Safari

While Edge may be catching up to Safari worldwide, in North America it's a different story, as Apple's browser is used on 16.87% of desktops compared to Edge's 11.93% market share.

In Europe and Asia though, Edge has already leapfrogged Safari at 10.9% and 7.46% respectively with Apple's browser used on 9.95% of desktops in Europe and just 5.41% in Asia.

Since Safari is the default browser on Apple's iPhone and iPad, it has a 26.71% of mobile market share worldwide which still pales in comparison to Chrome's 62.06% market share on both iOS and Android.

Although Microsoft Edge has been downloaded over 10 million times on the Google Play Store and the app has 4.6 stars on Apple's App Store, the browser isn't even listed in StatCounter's mobile market share rankings.

Edge Legacy vs Chromium Edge

While Chromium-based Edge was released in 2020, Microsoft originally created Edge Legacy for Windows 10 and the company's replacement for Internet Explorer was unveiled back in 2015. Before then, it was known by its codename “Spartan” in reference to Halo's Master Chief.

Even though Edge Legacy only lasted a short while, Microsoft did port the browser to both Android and iOS in 2017 and included the ability to sync the browser with Windows 10 desktops. In March of last year though, Microsoft ended support for Edge Legacy before replacing its old browser with Chromium-based Edge as part of a cumulative monthly security update.

Following the release of its brand new Edge browser, the software giant has continued to update it with new features and functionality including Vertical Tabs, Collections, Web Capture and more. These efforts may not have dethroned Chrome but they have certainly taken away market share from Safari at least on desktop.

If you haven't given Edge a try yet or only have experience with Edge Legacy, there's never been a better time to test out Microsoft's browser. For those that managed to snag an Xbox Series X, Edge even runs on Microsoft's console and can be used to stream games with Nvidia GeForce Now.

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Fix for critical Safari bug out now: iPhone, iPad and Mac users should update immediately

Apple has rolled out new versions of its iOS, iPadOS and macOS operating system, patching up a major security flaw in Safari across all of its devices.

This bug leaked users' Google data and browsing history that's stored within the browser, so if you're an Apple user, we recommend you update the operating system on your devices immediately.

The updates include iOS 15.3, iPadOS 15.3 and macOS Monterey 12.2, and while they don't add any new features other than “bug fixes and security updates”, they're still “recommended for all users”.

Apple has also released updates for Big Sur and Catalina (v11.6.3 and Catalina Security Update 2022-001 respectively) for anyone still on the older versions of macOS.

All patched up

Those aren't the only software updates released by Apple – watchOS 8.4, tvOS 15.3, and HomePod Software 15.3 have also been rolled out publicly.

The updated watchOS also fixes some bugs, particularly the issue that prevented some Apple Watch 7 users from properly charging their devices when using specific chargers.

Meanwhile, the latest HomePod update adds “performance and stability improvements” and Siri voice recognition for up to six users. It's worth noting that this particular update is region specific and applies to users speaking in English in India and in Italian.

As for the newly updated tvOS, Apple hasn't shared any details on what the latest version brings, but we can assume it's another round of performance improvements.

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Browser wars: Apple’s M1 chips help Safari close the gap on Google Chrome

The success of Apple’s M1 range of silicon could have inadvertently helped drive up the market share of web browser Safari, new data suggests.

The first M1-powered MacBooks were launched in 2020, followed by a series of mobile workstations powered by the M1 Max and M1 Ultra in October, 2021. Both launches were met with critical acclaim.

All Apple devices, of course, come with Safari pre-installed. And according to the latest figures from Statcounter, the company’s browser now accounts for 19.6% of internet activity, up 1.2% in the last three months alone.

While the increase may sound relatively insignificant as a percentage, the raw numbers are much more compelling; data on the total number of web users from Statista suggests Safari has attracted roughly 58 million additional users since the start of October.

A big year for Safari?

The ubiquity of Apple products (iPhones and iPads, as well as Mac devices) means Safari is comfortably the world’s second largest browser, streets ahead of the likes of Microsoft Edge and Firefox.

However, Safari is still nowhere near as widely used as Google Chrome (with 64% market share), which currently has somewhat of a stranglehold on the sector.

That said, the ever-growing popularity of Apple devices and the company’s reputation for high levels of security and data privacy could see Safari begin to close the gap on Chrome this year.

Apple has also been transparent about its efforts to accelerate the adoption of business Macs, which may have a knock-on effect on the size of the Safari user base. Last month, Apple announced it is preparing a device subscription offering whereby businesses will be able to lease MacBooks for as little as $ 30/month.

Although Google executives won’t lose any sleep over the threat posed by Safari just yet, the browser wars appear set to rage on in 2022.

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