When Microsoft embedded Internet Explorer with Windows, it was an obvious anti-competetive move intended to thwart the growth of the Netscape browser and benefit from the company’s operating system monopoly. The tactic worked, helping to send Netscape into a death-spiral. But if you think about it, years after the dust has settled, and the court cases are history, it wasn’t a bad idea after all, to marry the browser with the desktop experience. And Apple has all the tools to do it themselves, the right way, without raising the ire of the legal system.
The WebKit engine underlying Safari also powers both Apple applications, including Mail, and many third party apps, like BareBones’ BBEdit. The next logical step, in my mind, is to WebKit-enable the Finder, letting me type in a URL, search Google, or access my bookmarks directly from my desktop, without having to open Safari. We can already see similar functionality with how you can play MP3 files within the finder without opening iTunes or view photos without opening iPhoto.
Click to See One Mockup of a Safari-Enabled Finder
There’s no good reason that I can type a URL in Windows to open a Web site immediately, and my Mac won’t give me the same option. And Apple’s low market share may actually give the company an advantage when competitive questions are raised. I’ve attached a quick mockup with one way today’s Finder (pre-Leopard) would look with embedded URL entry and bookmark access. What’s holding Apple back? Wouldn’t this be a useful feature?