You’ve probably noticed we’ve made some changes around here, including a brand new design and sharp new logo.
Safari began more than 13 years ago as “Safari Tech Books Online,” with the promise of replacing the collection of IT and programming reference books on your shelf with something online and searchable. (As the saying goes, “You can’t grep dead trees.”)
But the notion of just having “books online” isn’t particularly novel anymore — and we’re about much more than books these days, with tens of thousands of hours of video courses, exclusive conference sessions, and even audio books. And with leading titles in business, communications, management, design, marketing, leadership, sales, and operations, we’ve got something for everyone in your organization — not just the IT department.
While lots of our customers, especially those working in libraries, are still looking for what is fundamentally a reference database, we know that many others want something a bit different. They aren’t looking up something they already know they want; they’re looking to learn something new or find something interesting to read and watch, suggested to them in the kind of continuous stream we’re all now familiar with from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
As we kept trying to work that kind of serendipity into a reference system, it became clear that we needed to step back and start over. We realized there’s just so much more we could do to help connect people with useful content from deep within books, video courses, and conference sessions.
We’ve been testing out a lot of our ideas and getting fantastic feedback for nearly a year now, through a product we’ve been calling Safari Flow. Those early users have already read more than 30 million pages of text and watched more than 1 million minutes of video, helping us refine the experience along the way. We’ve now folded that into one core offering, called simply “Safari,” and its responsive design and clean reading experience are the foundation of the new Safari interface.
One thing we haven’t changed is the original Safari Books Online for any current customer. Although we’re excited about where we’re going with the reimagined Safari, we’ve taken a page from the folks at Basecamp in making sure anyone who is happy with their existing Safari Books Online account can keep it. Keeping two entirely separate systems running isn’t without its tradeoffs, but we decided it was worth it. If you’re already a Safari Books Online customer and want to try out the new version, you can start a free trial today. Everything from your current Safari Books Online account will stay as it is, just like you left it.
What’s new in the new Safari?
Integrated Text, Video Training, Conference, and Audio Content
Unlike most other online training companies, we offer a diverse range of perspectives and content types to suit a variety of learning styles. We believe truly mastering a subject means understanding more than just one expert’s opinion on the matter, and that’s why we offer you the choice of many different points of view. We know (because we have the data to back it up) that very few people only watch video courses or only read books or only watch conference sessions. Nearly everyone who joins Safari uses a mix of all the types of content we provide; for example, an engineering manager might need to quickly skim a list of useful performance-review phrases at their desk, but want to take a deep dive into a video course about Android over the weekend and then listen to a conference keynote on the commute to work Monday morning.
Text, video, and audio content is presented together within recommendation pages and search results. For text content, we also show you estimated reading times to help you plan your time investment and track your progress, just like you’re already used to with video and with audio books.
We’re all growing familiar with recommendations from services like Netflix and Spotify, but today there aren’t a lot of good options for discovering useful professional content based on your specific interests and history. The most relevant part for you might be a single chapter, clip, or conference talk, not necessarily a whole book or training course.
Based on topics you’ve selected, your own usage behavior, and what’s popular among millions of our other users, we recommend courses, chapters, books, clips, and conference sessions. We also present recommendations categorized by time commitment, so if you’ve got 15 minutes waiting for a train, we’ll help you fill that time with something to make you smarter.
Services like Instapaper, Readability, and of course Netflix have popularized the notion of a “queue” of items to read or watch later — a way to “time-shift” interesting bits for when you’ve got more, well, time to look at them. The new Safari has its own queue, where you can add chapters, clips, books, video courses, and conference sessions for later review.
Within a few weeks, we’ll be rolling out an iOS app [update: the iOS app is now live] (followed later by Android and Windows 8) built around the queue and making your selections available when you’re offline.
Collecting and sharing annotations across a bunch of different books is difficult to do with individual ebooks. The new Safari makes it easy to highlight, add optional notes, and share those annotations with the world (or maybe just your coworkers).
We’re proud of what we’ve already built, but we’re incredibly excited about what’s ahead for Safari. Here’s a few of the things we’re looking at:
- Adding more audio books
- Live conference streaming
- Shared “playlists” of content
- Integrated custom Tutorials that provide curated paths through our rich collection of content to meet specific learning objectives
What does this mean for you?
There’s a more detailed FAQ posted here, which we’ll be adding to in the weeks ahead, but here’s answers to a few of the key questions you might have about what we’re up to.
I’m already a customer of Safari Books Online, what does this mean for me?
Nothing about your current subscription will change. We’ll keep adding great new books, video courses, and conference videos to our original Safari Books Online reference product, which is used by millions of individual, corporate, library, and government customers around the world. The original product will continue to be known as “Safari Books Online,” and the new one is just called Safari. They’re entirely separate.
Do I have to move to the new Safari?
Not if you don’t want to. Moving is optional, and current Safari Books Online customers can try out the new Safari totally free for 10 days. If you’re a current Enterprise customer, your Account Manager will be happy to help you.
Is the content the same in the new Safari?
The new Safari has more than 27,000 books and videos. We did take the opportunity to prune a bunch of titles that were rarely (if ever) used, making it easier to discover the most topical releases in technology and business, and we’re adding new titles every day.
If you have more questions, drop us a line, or keep up with this FAQ, which we’ll be expanding and adding to in the weeks ahead.
I’m already a member of Safari Flow, what does this mean for me?
Nothing about your current subscription will change. What was Flow and is now Safari will function completely the same. Any changes you see are strictly cosmetic to bring the site inline with the look and feel of our new branding. We’ve retained all of your settings, queue items, and usage history. Please continue to use Safari just as you used Flow.
One important thing that has changed from Flow is the URL. Please update your bookmark and you’ll be on your way.