4 min read

Review: Camino Offers Fast, Lightweight Browsing For Macs

With version 1.5, Camino now has all the features it needs to really compete with other Mac browsers.
Cookie Control And Other Privacy Features
Camino offers fine controls for cookies and other privacy features. You can do any of the following with cookies:

  • Accept from any site.
  • Accept only from sites you visit.
  • Block all cookies.
  • Ask before accepting each cookie.
  • Show cookies and delete or edit them individually.
  • Edit the exceptions list to selectively allow or block cookies from specific sites, regardless of how you set your overall cookie preferences,
  • Allow cookies just for the browser session -- the cookies will be purged when you close your browser.

Privacy controls manage cookies and passwords.

(Click image to go to Image Gallery.)

You can also empty your cache, or remove your history. And the "Reset Camino" menu option does it all: erases your browsing history, empties the cache, clears downloads, clears all cookies and site cookie permissions, and removes any passwords Camino saved in your Keychain.

I did find several problems with Camino, including features that Firefox has and Camino is missing.

In Firefox, you can easily run any search using a keyword typed into the location bar. I have address-bar keyword searches configured in Firefox for InformationWeek, Google, Google News, Wikipedia and (because all work and no play makes Mitch a dull journalist) the Internet Movie Database. (Lifehacker has instructions for setting up keyword searches in Firefox.) You can also do easily keyword searching from the address bar in Safari, using a free add-on, Sogudi.

Product Info
Camino 1.5
The Camino Project
Price: Free

It's not so easy to set up similar functionality in Camino. You'll find instructions on the Working With Bookmarks page on the Camino site; search for the section "Bookmark shortcuts and searches." Although the process is a bit of a pain in the neck, you only have to do it once for each search site you want to access.

Camino doesn't have its own, built-in RSS reader. I don't care about that myself -- I use Google Reader. But if you prefer your browser and RSS reader to be a single unit, then you'll be disappointed with Camino. And Camino's tool for automatically subscribing to RSS feeds will only work with desktop feed-readers. You can't set it to automatically subscribe to a Web-based feed reader, like Google Reader. On the other hand, Web-based feed-readers generally offer bookmarklets and other tools to automate subscriptions.

Some Gmail is formatted poorly in both Camino and Firefox. In particular, I get a lot of e-mail from inside Second Life that goes to my Gmail account, and the text of the messages don't fit the width of the screen. I have to scroll right to read it all.

I miss the and TinyURL Firefox extensions; I use them all the time. There are workarounds in Camino, but they're not as satisfactory. To bookmark a site in, I now need to use Pukka, which costs $12 (the Firefox extension is free). To make TinyURLs, I've found a TinyURL system service, which, when used in conjunction with Quicksilver, can be invoked form the keyboard.

Which Browser Is Best?
Camino, Firefox, and Safari are all fine browsers. Which one you choose will depend on personal preference.

In my opinion, Safari is not quite as good as Camino. On the other hand, Camino isn't so much better than Safari that it's worth switching. If you've been using Safari all this time and you're not particularly dissatisfied, Camino won't impress you enough to make you want to switch.

Firefox is right for you if you value extensions, customizability, and uniformity across platforms. Firefox is also a good choice if you're a Windows user by day in the office, and a Mac user at home.

Camino offers everything Firefox does -- and less. It has all the essential features, and doesn't have unnecessary features that contribute to software bloat. Also, if you prefer to use open source software rather than proprietary apps, Camino is right for you.

It's lean, fast, and agile. Let's hope it stays that way.