The browser debate is pretty heated on all platforms, but we love Chrome on the Mac. It's fast, easy to use, has a great developer community, and even handles failure with grace.
- Tabbed browsing with pin-able tabs and regular tabs that are easy to reorganize.
- Supports all kinds of extensions so you can add new features developed by third parties.
- Pretty much all of your data can be synced to Chrome on any other computer using your Google account.
- Chrome "Omnibar" allows you to type in URLs or search from the same place.
- Customisable search shortcuts let you search sites without the need to visit them first.
- Maintains a simple, straightforward interface.
- The Chrome Marketplace allows you to "install" web apps to Chrome and find handy extensions.
- Automatically recognises web content that's not in your native language and offers to translate it for you.
- "Incognito Mode" for private browsing.
- Choose from a variety of themes, or make your own.
- Each tab is isolated, so tabs can crash but it won't affect the entire browser if they do. Same goes for plug-ins.
- Plenty of privacy preferences to keep Chrome from tracking what you do (which it does).
- Chrome will automatically update to a new version as soon as it's available. That update will be active upon restarting Chrome.
- Safe browsing helps warn and protect you from phishing attacks and malicious web sites.
- URL-based settings pages so you can send people links to settings pages or just enter them in yourself, manually.
Mac users generally appreciate the speed of Safari and how nice it looks, but don't like that it's not exactly the most feature-rich and doesn't really update that often. Firefox is full of features and really great in theory, but on a Mac it hasn't ever performed all that well. Chrome is kind of the best of both worlds, in that it has the nicer interface of Safari and the same WebKit-based speed, but is also constantly updating and adding new features. It also aims to be more stabile, whether it always achieves that or not. But Chrome is very fast, has an exceptional plug-in catalogue, and is has the best things you'll find in most web browsers available for the Mac.
Chrome could stand to improve where it already thinks it excels. I feel as though Chrome has become progressively less stable and reliable. While it's true that the browser crashes infrequently, I can't say the same for individual tabs. Sometimes tabs crash for seemingly no reason. Chrome does well on features, frequent unobtrusive updates, and a good developer community, so it really just needs to concentrate on working as well as possible. It's a great browser when it does what it's supposed to do, so more stability, speed, security, and so on are all welcome. Especially stability.
Firefox is the obvious alternative for most people. While Firefox, in theory, could be the best browser on the Mac it would first have to work well on the Mac. For example, it keeps its promise of speed on Windows but not so much on the Mac. It also tends to be more unstable and crash more frequently. That said, it has a great feature set and if you're working cross-platform it may be a better choice for you. If Mozilla would only get the Mac version working as well as they have on Windows it would be a much closer battle with Google on OS X.
Opera has a dedicated following and is a pretty great, fast browser. It doesn't have the developer community you'll find with Chrome or Firefox, but it does offer some neat features. For example, you can protect tabs from closing, get built-in BitTorrent support, peek at the contents of tabs without clicking them, and more. Opera never caught on with a lot of people, but it's still been greatly improving over the years. If you're looking for an alternative, it's something you should try.
Safari comes with your Mac. It's pretty. It finally has proper extension support so you're not completely bereft of all the wonderful add-ons you can get with Chrome and Firefox. It's pretty fast, supports a lot of modern CSS, and works well for casual browsing. When you start demanding a lot of Safari it's not great. It also has a reputation of being pretty insecure. It's not your best choice, but it's usable.
Camino is an open-source browser for Mac that's designed to be lightweight and simple to use. You won't find many of the complex features in most web browsers, but Camino will do its primary job very well.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.