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Not-So-Hot Feature: Tab Relocation Program

Safari 4 relocates its tabs (each representing an open web page) from the Safari 3 location beneath the Bookmarks bar into the title bar. On the plus side, this change gives you a smidgeon of additional vertical space in which to display each web page. However, for many of us, the following negatives will outweigh this one small positive:

  • Moving the tabs into the title bar places them an inch or two above their previous location. If you switch tabs frequently, this new location requires a significant amount of additional mousing around.
  • If you're running Windows Vista with the Windows Aero color scheme's translucent title bars, the tab names are more difficult to read (see Figure 6).
  • Normally, you can click and drag any open spot in a window's title bar to move the window to a new location. Because you must also be able to rearrange Safari's tabs by dragging, however, it was necessary to change the tabs. To move a tab in Safari 4, you must click and drag the new triangle symbol in the tab's upper-right corner. If you attempt to drag by clicking any other part of a tab, you'll move the entire window instead.
  • Although I haven't checked them in years, I suspect that adding elements to a window's title bar is a violation of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines. (If it isn't, it should be.) Although Windows apps, such as Microsoft Office, occasionally add features to the title bar, I can't think of a Mac application that messes with it.
Figure 6

Figure 6 If your computer is running Windows Vista and Appearance is set to the Windows Aero color scheme (top), tab labels can be a bit difficult to read. You can correct this problem by setting Appearance to the Windows Vista Basic color scheme (bottom).

The bottom line is that this new feature isn't especially useful or helpful. Of course, if it makes it into the official release of Safari 4, we'll get used to it. But I'd rather not.

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