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Until this latest release the Top Sites page in Safari was too slow for me to find useful. Now, however, it is much faster and I’m liking it very much. I liked Chrome’s New Tab page a lot. However, unlike Safari it wasn’t really all that useful for more than giving you a clickable tile to go to your favorite sites. Safari’s Top Sites page does a bit more.
First, it shows a ‘page-curl white star on blue’ icon to show which pages have been updated since you visited them last. This makes is quick and easy to go to the pages that have been updated rather than checking them yourself. Second, Safari allows you to choose how many sites show up on this page. Chrome does not. Depending on your screen size you can choose between Small, Medium and Large tiles for each site. Small is more, large is less.
Third, but not necessarily specific to the Top Sites page, Safari allows you to search your history in a visual way right from the Top Sites page itself. As you type in your search query a coverflow like window shows you a thumbnail of the Web sites that match it. It makes finding pages you’ve been to in the past much, much easier than in Chrome.
So, for now I’m back to Safari.
My Top Sites in Safari are (from left to right and down) this site, my WordPress admin, Twitter (although I rarely use this because I use Echofon so it may be replaced soon), Facebook, Gmail, Instapaper, Tumblr, 37Signals Launchpad, Flickr, Viddler’s Recently Uploaded page, GitHub and Google Reader.