Floating Mac Browser Fluid Makes its Debut

Marc Schenker By Marc Schenker  |  Feb. 25, 2016

Billed as “the multitasking browser for everyone,” Fluid is the Mac’s new browser that takes great strides to improve productivity and multitasking on your desktop. Mac users can now enjoy a browser that features picture-in-picture capability, which lets them position the window wherever they choose. Even with the biggest, 27-inch Macs, screen space can still feel limited, making this browser serve a real need.

Apple users will note that using iOS 9 to multitask has never been easier today, thanks to the new picture-in-picture feature on the iPad. This has allowed people to watch Netflix in the foreground while they browse in the background, for instance.

At last, OSX users now have the same opportunity on their desktops. Called a multi-tasker’s dream, Fluid “floats” on top of all of the other windows that you have open during your work flow. Here’s an unexpected-though-remarkable bonus: It also has a transparency feature that, when activated, lets you actually see the content behind Fluid.

Let’s say you want to go to another site when using Fluid. You simply go back to the app via the icon in the dock at the bottom of the screen or the menu bar icon at the top.

Working much the same as browsers you’re already used to operating, Fluid gives you control over your site navigation. You’re able to manipulate the transparency settings, look at your history and favorites, and access file-uploading options. All of these features mean that you can do much of what you can do with standard browsers—including multitasking by watching videos and surfing the web simultaneously.

Images and PDFs are currently browser-supported; in the near future, movie files will be supported, too, allowing users to see them right in the Fluid browser window. MP4 support is right around the corner as well: The developer says MP4 support is in the version that’s still waiting to be approved by the App Store.

With so many users consuming video these days, it’s no surprise that Fluid has taken into consideration Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo and Netflix videos in particular. Users who browse any of these sites will see them automatically transition to embedded video links that enable edge-to-edge viewing.

There’s also Chrome compatibility included in the features. Here is a Chrome extension that lets users open up all Chrome URLs right inside of Fluid. URLs can be anything from videos to basic articles and written content.

(It’s interesting to note that there’s also already another floating Mac browser. It’s called Helium. However, the huge difference between it and Fluid is that Fluid operates more like a conventional browser with ease of access to basic browser controls, which helps the user experience.)

Since the developer behind Fluid is bootstrapping the new browser, it’ll current cost you $2.99.

Here is a very detailed explainer video taking new users through the basic features of Fluid and how to get the most out of it.