Grazing: The Complete iPad Browser

Grazing’s icon gives a sneak peek into what you will experience after tapping the icon. The icon shows grass that leads into an infinite abyss, an infinite abyss of information that can be grazed or consumed at extreme detail.

Yes, Grazing is another browser for iPad in an already crowded niche, but it does have features which make it stand out from the pack. One of the best features of Grazing is that it is touch-optimized. The developer of Grazing, Thinkbitz Software, took the time to re-think how users would use a touch device to surf the web. While there is nothing wrong with the standard way of web browsing in Safari for iOS, it’s not exactly optimized for iPad. The iPad has had some gesture love with the multitasking gestures but that’s about all.

The added bonus of using Grazing as your iPad browser of choice is that ThinkBitz has included features such as sending links to Instapaper, saving a page to Evernote, and sharing a link to Facebook.

Read on to see if breaking free from the fence of Safari and browsing the open web with Grazing is right for you!

First Impression

When first opening Grazing you will notice a universal address bar that resembles Google Chrome. The universal address bar is a search bar and an address bar. No matter what you type into the bar you will get a result. Grazing does support a search bar as well which can be activated by hitting the magnifying glass. This search area has more advanced search options and will show your recent searches.

At the bottom of the search window is an option to open your search results in the current tab or a new tab.

Main View in Grazing

Browsing iPad.AppStorm!

Tabbed browsing has been talked about a lot on the iPad, especially with Safari adding the feature in iOS 5.0. Grazing supports tabbed browsing as well, but it adds some features on how you manage tabs. When first opening Grazing you will notice a tab button next to the address bar. The button will display the number of tabs you have open.

Tab View in Grazing

Managing tabs in Grazing.

Pressing the button will bring a popover list of your tabs currently open. In landscape mode you can press the sidebar button and that will dock the list on the left hand side. At the top of the tabs popover list pressing the nine tiles will lead to a thumbnail view. This is similar to the setup in Safari on your Mac showing previews of your most visited sites.

You can also have your tabs show up on top of the address bar, called the tab strip.

The action button on the right side of the address bar includes a multitude of features. The most unique feature is called Grazing Push. Grazing Push will take the page you are currently surfing and push that link to your Mac through a free Mac App Store app. If the app is running on your Mac the link will open on your Mac in your default browser. Grazing Push can also push the link to your iPhone as well.

Grazing Action Menu

Grazing supports sending content to several sources.

Grazing will let you share your webpages with a lot of other sources as well. This feature in itself makes it a worthy companion to Safari because through Send To services the browser can be connected to other services you use without relying on javascript bookmarks. My most used Sent To services are Evernote, Twitter, and Instapaper. There are a lot more services available to use as well, it’s safe to say if a service accepts links, Grazing can share a link to that service.

Gestures

What really sets Grazing apart from the other browsers on the App Store and from Safari are its gesture controls. ThinkBitz has implemented a lot of gestures within the app and all of the gestures are capable of being reassigned which makes the possibilities seem endless.

Gestures in Grazing

You can reassign gestures in the settings menu.

Gestures can be assigned for navigation such as closing a tab or opening a link in a new tab, sending content to services such as Facebook and Pinboard, and performing actions such as sending a link in an email. My most used gesture is sending content to Instapaper. I have assigned the Swipe Down Then Right command to perform this command.

Grazing does not just rely on gestures for navigation but also gets your thumbs involved in the love as well. By implementing the Slidepad and Thumbpad your thumbs can almost control any navigation you could want to perform while browsing the web. The Thumbpad can be toggled on/off by using three of your fingers and tapping the screen once. Once the Thumbpad is activated you can use it to scroll the page or use it in conjunction with your other thumb to open links and perform other actions.

Press and hold the top of the Thumbpad and use your other hand to press a link to open the link in a background tab.

The Thumbpad can also be used to switch tabs by either double tapping at the top of the Thumbpad to advance to the next tab or by double tapping at the bottom on the Thumbpad to go back to the previous tab. I really find the Thumbpad useful for these type of commands, but I find it aggravating for page navigation.

Using it to either slide down or up on the page is not fluid as scrolling is in iOS. Some users may actually prefer this as it is a way to make sure you will not miss anything while scrolling, but I prefer the smooth scrolling of iOS.

If you would like to slide the Thumbpad to the other side of the screen just give it a flick to the outer edge and send it over there.

The Slidepad is an innovative way to navigate and use browser commands. Use your thumb or finger and slide from the left or right side of the screen toward the center of the screen to activate the Slidepad. The SlidePad will include actions that are from the tool bar including navigating between pages, bookmarking, and navigating between tabs. The SlidePad is especially useful in full screen mode.

Slidepad in Grazing

The Slidepad puts useful commands right at your thumbs!

When the SlidePad is activated all links will be opened in a background tab.

Browsing

If Grazing did not have all of these features and was just a browser how would it rate?

I think it would rate very well. Pages load quickly and Grazing can handle a good number of tabs. My only complaint is that pages seem to need to reload when using a lot of tabs or after leaving a tab and coming back to it after a few minutes. I would really like Grazing be able to hold on to the downloaded page longer after switching tabs, however I understand that the reason the reload is happening is because Grazing clears the loaded page when it senses low memory in order to avoid an application crash, which is a good feature to have.

In the settings you can turn this off if you’d rather deal with the risk of the crash instead of re-loading pages. If you do experience a crash do not worry, because all of your tabs will be restored when relaunching the app.

Conclusion

Grazing brings a complete browsing experience to your iPad. The experince is enriched through gesture control and through the built in services that content can be sent to, including the Grazing Push service which can push a link to your Mac or to Grazing on your iPhone.


Summary

Grazing makes use of gestures and useful add-ons to make the browsing experience on the iPad a more complete experience.

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