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New in OS X Lion: Safari 5.1 brings WebGL, Do Not Track and more

3 May 2011 16,223 views No Comment

Some folks are expecting Safari 6 when Mac OS X 10.7 Lion ships this Summer. Perhaps we’ll get, though in the meantime Apple’s busy packing new features and functionality into version 5.1 of their popular WebKit 2-based browser. Step inside for a closer look.

Back on March 7, Khronos delivered the final WebGL 1.0 specification. Thereupon, Mozilla Firefox 4 and Google Chrome 11 (or better) already have implementation of it built in.

Now, Apple’s delivered their interpretation of WebGL 1.0 in Safari 5.1, which is the version that ships with prerelease builds of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. To activate this feature, which promises accelerated OpenGL accelerated 3D graphics delivered via HTML5 and JavaScript, turn on the Developer menu in preferences (see image above) and then just tick “WebGL” as shown in the image below.

Another new feature in Safari 5.1 is the introduction of Do Not Track, which tells advertisers that they shouldn’t track your online activity with browser cookies. Who knows how effective this will practically turn out, but we’ve written a quick “how to” on the subject — dig in.

WebKit2 is part of Safari 5.1WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc.) runs in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that it has built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it. Currently WebKit2 is available for Mac and WindowsWikipedia

With the third Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview Release, Apple shipped build of Safari 5.1 (7534.31.2), which includes a new Downloads button (image below) that you can install in the toolbar. However, it’s only accessible via mouse click and pressing Command + Option + L still brings up the Downloads window — combine these two features, Apple, and we will be cooking with gas.

Last on my list so far of new features is Reading List, which looks like Apple’s answer to Instapaper et al (i.e. a way to save articles, etc. for later reading). Given the success and broad availability/integration of Instapaper, I’m wondering why Apple needs an answer to Instapaper.

Then again, maybe Apple will get it right with Reading List — it can’t be worse than Ping, right?

Liking what you see in Safari 5.1? Looking for a specific feature? Drop us a note and link in the comments below…

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