Glims: Supercharge Your Safari Interface

As the range of features in Safari grow with every release, it has started to encompass the additional functionality offered by many third party plugins. There are still a decent number of extra features which you’re able to add on though, and one decent app which supports Safari 4 is Glims.

This review will be taking a look at the functionality offered by Glims, which includes adding a range of search engines to your toolbar, integrating website screenshots into search results, full-screen browsing, website icons in tabs, and a whole host of other bits and pieces.

Installing Glims

Installing the add-on software is as simple as downloading it and running the installer. After re-starting Safari, all the additional features and options should be available to you. If you decide that Glims isn’t for you, uninstalling it requires you to quit Safari and delete the following two folders:

~/Library/Application\ Support/Glims/

A small uninstaller is also available, and can be downloaded from the FAQ page.

A decent range of configuration options are available through Safari preferences for turning particular features on and off:

Changing Glims Settings

Changing Glims Settings

Search Enhancements

searchenginesMany of the enhancements provided by Glims fall into the bracket of initiating web searches and browsing results. One of the main additions is a large selection of search engines to the toolbar field.

These include extra search engines, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, MacUpdate and a bunch of other sites. All of these sites are configurable through the Preferences screen and it’s easy to add your own.

In addition to the more functional search input, you’ll also see an enhancement to Google (or Yahoo) search results. Glims is able to display a site screenshot to the left of each result, giving you a visual representation of a page before you click through to it. You’ll either find this incredibly useful, or incredibly distracting – each to their own:

Thumbnail Search Results

Thumbnail Search Results

Various enhancements to the toolbar search results are present, though these aren’t quite as necessary on account of many already being integrated into Safari 4.

Tab Enhancements

There has been a whole host of controversy about Apple’s decision to move tab placement to the top of the window in Safari. It seems to have died down now, as people get used to the new interface. Glims adds a few extra features and functionality to your tabs.

First is the addition of website icons (“favicons”) to the left of each tab title. This gives a quick visual reminder of a particular tab’s contents. I quite like this feature despite the fact that it leads to a slightly more cluttered interface – from a usability perspective, it makes it far quicker to scan across for the tab you’re looking for:


Another feature is the ability to close a tab by placing your mouse over it and clicking the middle mouse button. It means you’re no longer required to search for the fiddly close icon.

An absolutely genius addition is an ‘Undo Close Tab’ feature, which can re-open a tab if you’ve accidentally closed it. Hitting Cmd+Z, or selecting Edit > Undo Close Tab will re-instate whatever you were previously viewing.

Other Interface Tweaks

Another feature which works very well is full-screen browsing. The option is added as a menu bar item (Safari > Full Screen), and does exactly what it says. I’m surprised this isn’t a default option in Safari, as it makes reading through a long article far more enjoyable. This is especially the case when coupled with the Readability bookmarklet to eliminate all the unnecessary clutter on a page.

Quite a few other enhancements exist – too many to go into detail with in this review. If you’d like to read more, head over to the Glims site for the full feature list. Others to look out for include full localization, various bookmark actions, other options for managing tabs, and enhancements to the functionality of the downloads window.

Conclusion & Limitations

After having Glims installed for a few days, I’m drawn between wanting to keep it and remove it. Certain features I really love – tab icons, using the middle mouse button to close a tab, and multiple search engine support are brilliant. Others I’d prefer not to be present, such as images in Google results.

Fortunately, it’s easy to turn particular features on and off through the Safari Preferences, so you can customize the app to your heart’s content. Do let me know what you think – I’m interested to know whether you’re already happy with a different Safari add-on.