Hands-on with Raven, an app-centric Web browser for OS X

ravenThe choice between Chrome, Firefox and Safari just got a little tougher. A new OS-X-exclusive browser dubbed Raven takes the world of apps and brings them to the Web without sacrificing the style and simplicity the Apple operating system is known for.

User interface

raven home

Given that Raven was designed specifically for the Mac operating system, it should come as no surprise that its user interface bears a striking resemblance to all things Mac. You have your dock (albeit it to the left hand side) in a black panel, and this houses your applications. The overall design is minimalistic and stylish.

To navigate raven, you can choose to use the browser’s apps, or take the traditional route via the Web in its basic form. The omnibox is a sparse strip across the top of the page, which strangely houses Raven’s navigation tools. On the right hand side, you can find the tools to refresh, add a tab, star, bookmark, or return to the home page. All pretty standard fare.

You also have the option to turn your entire screen over to Raven, and given this browser’s focus on apps and appearance, we can see how it wants to be the destination for much of your activity. Give it a strengthened app store with more production-oriented tools, and lightweight work could definitely be accomplished within Raven.


raven apps

Being in beta means that there isn’t a terribly large inventory of apps to play with, but Raven does a admirable job bringing users some key choices. The default applications of choice like Facebook, Twitter, CNN, the New York Times, Delicious, YouTube, and Flickr are all there, as are noteworthy additions like Vimeo, Hulu Plus, and Quora.

Raven takes on a desktop-like attitude, particularly with the social applications and those that require or cater to user interaction. Ubuntu and Apple users will appreciate the seamless experience of moving between installed software and the Web. The left-hand side panel holds all of your chosen apps, as well as navigation icons. Selecting an app then brings up your options for in-site actions. 

For example, opening Twitter via the Raven app pulls up your command options for the site on that left-hand panel, placing them below the Twitter icon. Users can refer almost entirely to the left-hand panel once they’re inside an application.

raven screenshotApps like CNN pull up video or breaking news options (CNN specifically has its iReport feature installed). So while your instinct might be to use CNN’s default navigations, there are benefits for more consumption-based Websites as well.


Generally, working with Raven is a pleasure. It’s stupid-simple to orient yourself with all of the navigation commands, and installing and using apps is quick and easy. Switching between apps and the native Web was seamless, an upgrade from Chrome’s Web Store experience in our opinion. There was less of a “marketplace” feel to installing apps, and they were deposited into the sidebar automatically instead of via a dedicated page. It’s a small difference, indistinct to some, but Web apps themselves are some sort of compromise between bookmarks and desktop software, and this felt like a more natural choice.

The app organization could bear an upgrade, however. We’d love it if Raven would offer infinite scrolling for the left-hand sidebar so you can automatically paw through your apps instead of selecting the gear icon at the bottom to determine if they get to sit in one of the 12 coveted spots. Either that, or shrinking icon size based on how many you install, so you can view them all at once. As it stands, you can manually indicate your apps status by pressing the gear in the bottom left-hand corner.

app organization


Our only major complaint is that we wish Raven weren’t a Mac-specific browser. It’s not as fast as browser dominators like Chrome and Firefox, but we like how it toes the line between app-dependent and Web-enabled. Raven has its early kinks to work out, but given the thinning line between the Web and the desktop, this is a visually interesting and intuitive solution to closing that gap a little more. 


Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.

Why limit yourself to one OS? Try one of these great virtual machine apps

Buying a new computer just because you want to utilize another operating system isn't necessary. Just use the best virtual machine applications to emulate one OS inside another, no matter what your platform or budget is.

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.

Flip from portrait to landscape as we reveal how to rotate a video on iPhone

If you've accidentally shot a video in portrait orientation and you want to flip to landscape, then this is the guide for you. We'll explain how to use iMovie to rotate a video on your iPhone or iPad for free and suggest alternative apps.

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for February 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for February 2019.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.

With Galaxy S10e, Samsung unapologetically rips a page out of Apple’s playbook

Samsung's Galaxy S10e -- a new entry in the Galaxy S-series -- has a few things in common with Apple's lower-cost iPhone XR. From the price tag to the color, we take a look atthe similarities.