Browsing in class on the Mac with OmniWeb

Are you willing to pay for a Web browser? Though there are a lot of free alternatives, OmniWeb has a long history of providing speedy and elegant Web surfing on the Mac.


Back when Mac OS X was still in the beta stages and serious Mac geeks (myself included) couldn't wait to try out apps on the new system, OmniWeb was one of the first third-party browsers out of the gate. Using the power and elegance of Mac OS X, The Omni Group decided to try its hand at making a Web browser that fit right in with the design aesthetic of Apple's new operating system. For awhile, all the Mac editors at were running the demo-limited version of OmniWeb and couldn't get enough of the clean interface that featured windows that had no interface elements on the bottom so they seemed to bleed right off to the desktop.

The thumbnail previews of each tab in the left-navigation drawer make finding the right tab easy. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Though OmniWeb was immediately popular as the new kid on the OS X block, as a shareware browser, it struggled to gain user acceptance when so many other browsers were free. Though OmniWeb is still a shareware Web browser ($14.95), I still can't get over how stylish it is compared with the other big name offerings. Cool features like Workspaces let you switch between sets of Web sites and configurations to keep separate Web projects organized. The Tab drawer is a nice addition, showing you thumbnail previews of all your open tabs in a right-side, pop-out drawer. A robust bookmark manager makes storing, tagging, and categorizing your favorite sites easy with several tools for entering info about each site. It even automatically tracks which sites have updated so you know when a page has new information for you to explore.

An advanced bookmarking system lets you categorize sites and configure preferences for each favorite. (Credit: CNET Networks)

With all these cool features and the overall feeling that you're really working with a top-notch Web tool, it's no wonder people liked using this browser back in the early days of OS X. But with the registration fee, no matter how small, I still have to wonder if Mac users will leave their free mainstays for a more stylish alternative. Have a look for yourself at this classy browser and let us know in the comments what you think.

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.