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When you send your message it will be seen by all recipients and their replies will be shown to everyone as well. In the Mountain Lion version, you'll also have the ability to quickly switch to FaceTime video chats using a button in the upper right of the chat window. One issue I noticed in the preview that remains in Mountain Lion is the absence of a camera button to quickly add a picture to a message something that comes standard in iOS messages. Messages in Mountain Lion lets you drag and drop an image, but in the case when you don't have the image handy, it requires a few steps to go find one and drag it into the interface.

This is a feature where we prefer the iOS method, so hopefully it will be added in a future update. Safari Apple's Web browser isn't the fastest Web browser overall, but improvements in Mountain Lion have added more reasons to stick with it on the Mac. With the Smart Search Field, Apple is taking a page from other popular Web browsers like Google Chrome, making the address bar serve double duty as your place to enter addresses and search the Web.

When you enter a search term, Safari displays Top Hits right below the field based on your browsing history.

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With iCloud Tabs, Safari now has a new cloud-shaped button next to the forward and back buttons in the upper left. Once you sign in during initial setup with your Apple ID, you'll be able to view open tabs on all your Apple devices, making it possible to pick up where you left off on another device without missing a beat.

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Unfortunately, though I saw this feature in action in a demo at Apple, it will only work once your mobile devices are running iOS 6 allegedly available sometime in September. Apple has added a sharing button to Safari as well, where you'll find the options to add a page to your Reading List or create a bookmark, but it also lists out ways to share a site via e-mail, Message, Twitter, or Facebook. If you pick Message, Twitter, or Facebook, Mountain Lion brings up a Share Sheet without ever leaving the Web page you're currently on; sending via e-mail populates the e-mail body with an image you're sharing, for example, and lets you fill in the rest.

One major new interface enhancement for Safari is a joy to use when running Mountain Lion with a trackpad.

When you have a lot of browser tabs open, the new Tab View lets you use a pinch gesture, then use a two-finger swipe to browse your open tabs. A reverse-pinch returns you to normal browsing. While mostly a cosmetic upgrade, once I got used to pinching and swiping to browse tabs, it became second nature. In my years reviewing Apple products, this is yet another example of how Apple can make a small tweak to the interface that vastly improves the experience.

It may not be totally necessary you could easily click to look at each tab , but it's intuitive and saves time. To round out the updates to Safari, a few added features will make your surfing smoother. Apple says it tested Safari admittedly in-house using the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, and says that it's faster than Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 13, and Chrome 20 in that order.

Step 1: Check your compatibility

Safari also uses your GPU for improved hardware acceleration for noticeably smoother scrolling and faster loading of pages. A new Offline Reading List lets you save Web pages for offline viewing -- great for when you're going to be on a plane or in a no-service area. Safari is arguably the most important software on your computer as your window to the Internet, and in Mountain Lion, Apple has succeeded in bringing it up to speed with competing browsers, and offers a few extras like Tab View, Sharing, and Cloud Tabs that make common tasks much easier. Game Center now on Mac, but it's not perfect Mountain Lion leans a lot on the up-to-the-instant, multidevice syncing capabilities of iCloud across several of the core apps, but you wouldn't know it from the Mac OS X debut of Game Center.

The perennially underpowered social gaming hub of iOS has always been disappointing for iOS gamers, and its arrival on Mac desktops won't do much to change that. Game Center on Mountain Lion offers all the features you know from the iOS version: leaderboards, friend info, game matching, and more, and it shows up in much the same way it does on the iPad. But the killer app of any gamer social-networking interface -- and arguably the lifeblood of the communal gaming experience on consoles -- is the ability to log in and see what you're friends are currently playing, so you can join in, suggest something else, or just see who's shirking work on a Friday afternoon.

This type of capability seems like such an obvious fit for iCloud, even if it were lacking a strong invite component, and I'm disappointed to see this missed opportunity in Mountain Lion.

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