Apple delivers Safari 4 public beta, touts speed gains

Claims 'Nitro' JavaScript engine 30 times faster than IE7, 3 times faster than Firefox

Apple Tuesday released a public beta of Safari 4, the next generation of its Internet Web browser.

Apple touts the Nitro engine at the heart of Safari as running JavaScript more than four times as fast as Safari 3, up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and three times faster than Firefox. Nitro also allows Safari 4 to load HTML pages three times faster than IE 7, according to Apple.

Other new features in Safari 4 include Top Sites, giving users a visual preview of frequently visited pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, Web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow, to easily flip through Web history or bookmarks; and Tabs on Top, to make tabbed browsing easier.

Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies so Web-based applications can store information locally without an Internet connection. The browser also supports advanced CSS effects.

Safari 4 public beta is free and available now for download from Apple's Web site.

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Gregg Keizer

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