How's the Viasat Sparrow browser working for you?

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
Many of you have been trying our new, super-fast "Sparrow" browser in our ongoing beta test. As we work to make it even better, we'd love to hear your thoughts about it.
How does its performance compare with other browsers?

(Here's a link to see some of our comparisons.)

Curious to try it?  Send an email to projectsparrow@viasat.com
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Alex, Viasat Corporate Communications

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  • Thankful

Posted 11 months ago

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Dan White

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Seems fast and works well.  No problems so far.
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Diana, Viasat Employee

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Dan, thanks for the feedback!
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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The cool thing is that the more that you and others use it, the faster it will get because it uses machine learning to continuously learn how to get faster.
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david lightsey

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Browser works great. How about coming up with something similar to the Play On service. It seems this would really help with the congestion problems during prime time
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Jim16

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Image result for scam alert
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Bradley

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Wished you said something before I clicked, entered all my personal info, and sent some money to help out.
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Jim16

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You're just a soft touch!  :)
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J&J

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I was highly skeptical of the Sparrow browser when it was first mentioned, even doubting it's authenticity. I delayed installing it for weeks but frustration with Firefox not completing page-loads at the Viasat "my account" page and Internet Explorer having script errors all the time made me think twice.  Bev, a Champion on this site suggested I give Sparrow a try and I did.  To my amazement, it loads any page I ever go to, anywhere, and it's faster than Firefox (Ver 57.0.1) 64 bit.  I was getting mysterious double-post here with Firefox but not with the Sparrow browser.  I do miss the one-click Bookmarks list drop-down list in Firefox, but maybe that's a setting I haven't set yet.

I've used it now for about a week and have had zero problems with it. 
 
  
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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I have been using Sparrow for about a week now with no problems at all. It is fast. I had been using Firefox in the past, for years, but it was getting slower and slower with each upgrade, and the latest, Ver 57, was what finally broke me.
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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It is painfully slow and most of the add ons do not work anymore. Problem solved, I use Sparrow and do not ue FF anymore.
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Bev, Champion

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Add ons don't work, toolbars don't work, some sites don't load properly, slow as molasses. I solved it, install Sparrow, uninstall FF - all my browser problems solved in a matter of minutes. :)

Sure upgrading FF was simple but, getting it to work properly after said upgrade - impossible.
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J&J

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FF 57.X.X can't get to the Viasat "my account page" completely either, it hangs at the point it is trying to show data details and none of the links work while it is in a trance.
 
I have a lot of plug-ins that do work with it but when websites can't load and it makes double-post at places like this, I have no need for the aggravation.
 
(Edited)
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Markgc, Champion

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My most imprtant add on would not work with the new FF version. I went back to the recommended Firefox ESR  52.5.0 -  I think that there is now  a  52.5.1 in the works.

 I am looking forward to trying out Sparrow
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Just send a request to sparrowbrowser@viasat.com to get an invite if you don't already have one.
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Bradley

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I’ve played with it a little. So far I’m impressed, but would like to try a few more things with it this weekend before landing a final verdict.
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sherryanne

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Love it so far! Good riddance Firefox!  Great speed, no crashes, (so far) or freezing. Only been a few days, but its now my default. Haven't yet taken the time to set all my preferences yet, but what I have has been user friendly.  Thank you-
(Edited)
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Barry Paepcke

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come on are you people being paid by viasat I have had nothing but problems sparrow it died in mid flight not once but twice so far. I had to unintall it then reinstall it far as using Firefox I agree 57 is junk in several areas. when sparrow would crash there was no getting it back
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Bradley

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Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen a check for this month. What were you doing when the browser crashed?
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Ron D Stricklin

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Why would they be getting paid? It's a Beta. It's not been released yet. 
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Barry Paepcke

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I was jk lol
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Barry Paepcke

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the first time my computer crashed sparrow died second time nothing it just died
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Ron D Stricklin

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I doubt they make a compatible version for linux
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Michael McDowell

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How about a Mac version?
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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DavidBrowserGuy, are there any plans for a 64 bit version for Windows?
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Hi Steve, We have discussed this internally, but haven't yet committed to building this version.
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Michael, If you navigate to the download page on a Mac, you will download the Mac version.  If you navigate to it on a PC, you will download a PC version.  We don't yet support iOS and Android, but those platforms are on our roadmap.
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Michael McDowell

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Great! Thanks! 
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Brandon Fisher

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To be realistically honest i have not really noticed much of a difference between it and my other 2 browsers. Chrome and Edge. I just may not be that sensitive to loading or whatever im' supposed to be seeing better.
Then again my system is the best you can tech build.

And if your curious my PC specs are:
Processor: Intel I7 8700k OC to 5 Ghz [Water Cooled]
Ram: G.Skill Trident Z  16Gb  3200mhz DDR4 Ram
GPU: AMD RX Vega 64 ((My GTX 1080Ti died 2 weeks ago)) Replacement is on the way.
Storage: 2x  1Tb Samsung 960 Pro M.2/NVMe SSD  and 2x 2Tb Seagate Firecuda SSHD
Motherboard: Asrock z370 Killer SLIac
PSU: FOCUS Plus 850w Platinum (Tier 1 80+ Platinum rating )
Input Devices: Logitech G213 Keyboard and Logitech G600 Mouse
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Bev, Champion

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Brandon, with rigs like ours, it takes counting 10ths of seconds to see the difference but, add that small per page load difference up over the course of an average day online for you and, it saves 5-10 minutes per day, depending on the sites visited, and, more if it's one you frequent under Sparrow once Sparrow learns to go fetch at the first letter typed, then blink, oh what it's done already? :)
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Hi Brandon, There may be a couple of reasons for that.

  1. Randomly upon startup, Sparrow is placed in a Chromium-like mode 20% of the time.  In this mode, all Sparrow optimizations are disabled, and performance is identical to Chrome.  We are doing this so that we can measure the performance improvement.  To see if you are in a Chromium-like mode, go to sparrow://version and check if the word “Chromiumlike” is in the command line.  If it is and you want to get the optimizations back, restart the browser and, 80% of the time it will be in Sparrow mode.  If you are tech-savvy and want the browser to always be in Sparrow mode, right click on the Sparrow icon on your desktop (if Windows), right-click on Viasat Sparrow in the menu, click on Properties, and then in the Target field add “ --sparrow-force-fieldtrial”, making sure to include the space and two dashes but not the quotation marks.
  2. Sparrow is a browser that learns and it may not yet have learned how to optimize the sites that you are using.  As you and others frequent those sites more, Sparrow will get faster.
  3. It is recommended that ad-blocking be enabled as that will improve speeds, improve privacy, and reduce data usage.
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Joshua

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Just out of curiosity, has ViaSat looked at a comparison of data usage between Sparrow and other browsers? I am curious if some of the caching algorithms would reduce data usage vs any pre-fetching potentially increasing data usage?

Cheers,
Joshua 
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johnny c

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Anyone use Sparrow for streaming or on demand with Direct TV?

Fire Fox and Edge haven't worked for me with Direct TV, however both browsers  work fine for all my admin work.

I can only get the Direct TV video player (Cisco) to work with Explorer 11, if Sparrow works well with Direct TV I'd give it a try.
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Bev, Champion

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Sparrow is fine with the Cisco (DTV) player, works great for me, takes a few moments to load, authorize and, optimize quality, then it plays whatever show just fine.
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Robert Farquhar

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Okay, to everyone who who has tested or responded to date; nice work to you all.  I'm firing up Sparrow and headed for beta testing today. One question for all testers - what might be the worst thing that could happen (go wrong)? Good luck to all and keep testing...
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Bev, Champion

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Worst case, it crashes and you have to uninstall and reinstall Sparrow. It can't harm your files or other programs, or hardware. Like any Beta, it might have a few bugs and, will need to be updated as new features are added, and in rare cases, it might crash and need reinstalled.

Nothing too terrible and, so far, since testing began, I have not had a single glitch. I can simulate various hardware glitches or failures and, force a crash, but, even then, Sparrow recovers perfectly.
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johnny c

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Thanks for your reply ref Directv, Cisco player.
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James Paramore

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I've been using it for about a month now. No problems. I was using Chrome, Sparrow seems to be faster. 
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Sophie Mae

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It's been working great for me so far. Loads pages PDQ, and no errors/crashes yet.

Question: Does Sparrow have tiles like Chrome and FF? I'd love it if it did.

(I apologize if this has been asked/answered, but I searched and didn't find anything.)
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Hi Sophie, It doesn't have that at present.  This is something that may go onto the newtab page in the future.  Usually, typing the first couple of letters of your most frequently accessed sites will bring it up in the URL bar.
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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well i finally gots the download and key into my email :3 like i was like what the heck is this email about @>@ then i saw it was from viasat :3 so they gave me a code to i think install it to verify it was me or something :/ BUT!!! imma gonna use it tonight and see how it goes :3 OH YEAH!!! i forgots to say... make an option to where i can see my bookmarks :3
(Edited)
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Bev, Champion

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Once you get Sparrow up and running, it's easy to import your bookmarks form other browsers, just go through all of the little tips, some other cool stuff in there too, and fun stuff. :)
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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yeah i just now noticed of how to import your bookmarks XD and what do ya mean other cool suff and fun stuff @?@ hmmm i must explore some more :D
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Bev, Champion

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Read all of the tips, and try the Bacon Game, Barrel Roll, Askew - Sparrow likes to play. :)
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J&J

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But what about a one-click to see all bookmarks without going through the "Customize and Control Viasat Sparrow?"   A few can be made to appear at the top of the screen but that eats screen area.
 
It seems Deku misses a one-click for bookmarks too so I'm not alone on this.
 
(Edited)
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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@craig i to miss it also ;-; i just wished they can bring it back ;-; it was so much eaiser to use also :3 but since that is taken away... you have to manually go into settings and let it show up onto your bookmarks :/
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Brandon Fisher

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Do we have an official board to post bugs that have been found for sparrow? I have a list of things i've run across and been able to replicate. I can post them here if this is where i am supposed to. I only ask because i do not want to repost bugs that have already been announced or are being worked on.
(Edited)
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Matt B, Viasat Employee

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DavidBrowserGuy frequents this thread, if you post bugs, he'll see 'em!
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Michael McDowell

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You can also click on the Sparrow icon to the left of the address bar to report problems and submit screen shots.
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Brandon, The best way to report bugs is through the built-in bug reporting interface as that will give us the diagnostics that we need to figure out the root cause. Please click on the Sparrow icon at the left of the URL bar to report an issue and please report the issue from the active tab that is experiencing the problem. If, when you submit, you leave your email address we will follow-up with you. Thanks!
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bill nord

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Would not load on my Windows 7 machine but did on the Windows 10 machine.  Went through all the suggested work-arounds but to no avail. Want to leave Firefox if I can get Sparrow working.  Presently using Pale Moon, a fork of Firefox.


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Jim16

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Works fine on my Windows 7 laptop.  Been using it for months.
Had to give up the much improved Firefox because it isn't.
(Edited)
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Colleen Carr

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It's working OK for me except I can't print documents, they will save but not print
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Hi Colleen,
In the upper right hand corner of your browser, if there is a yellow triangle, please click on it and enable the print extension.  If that doesn't solve your problem, then please click on the little Sparrow icon to the left of the URL bar and "Report a Sparrow Issue," and someone from the engineering team will take a look and get back to you.  
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wm4bama, Champion

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I still have a laptop that uses Windows Vista,,,tried to download Sparrow and your server would not allow it, telling me it does not work on Vista..is there an easy mod you can make that will allow it to run on Vista..

I use the FlashPeak browser named SlimJet which is also based on the open source Chrome software...
 
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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I'm sorry, but there are no plans to support Windows Vista and there are no easy mods that would let us offer this capability.
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Ricky Dean

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I am assuming that is you really enjoy the interconnection of Chrome through your devices, you will be losing some of that?? or am I incorrect?
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Sparrow does not support cross-device sync.  All passwords, bookmarks, and browsing history are stored locally only and are not stored in the cloud so that they can be synced across your devices.
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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here is my thoughts onto this sparrow browser... I LOVE IT TO DEATH!!! :D ever since i FIRST installed it its MUCH faster!!! :D also not only that... ive been using it since day 1 :D also not only that... google chrome is SO FRICKING SLOW NOW!!! DX that i ALWAYS use my sparrow all the time!!! :D like EVERY DAY i tend to always use it no matter what!!! :D CAUSE I LOVE IT SO FRICKING MUCH!!! :D

also... you guys should make this onto different devices like android and ipad!!! :D cause if i think imma correct... if multiply users use it onto there phones... ITLL MAKE THE WEB BROWSER MUCH FASTER!!! :D also... the faster it is... THE MUCH FASTER IT IS!!! THE ULTIMATE SPEEDS THE WEB PAGES WILL LOAD!!! :D even onto android and also ipad also!!! :D i sure do hope that you guys will make it onto devices such as iphone ipad (mostly ipad cause imma tired of the fricking safari!!! DX ) and also androids also!!! :D just a thought :3
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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We are absolutely thrilled to hear that you are enjoying the browser!!  This is exactly why we set out to build it.  

And we agree with you that it is super-painful to browse the web on Android and iOS devices, so we are working on versions of the browser for these devices.
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Bev, Champion

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I dread having to use my cell (iOS) even on 4G, it's painfully slow compared to Sparrow, which I'm so used to by now that other browsers annoy me, even on my desktop rig.

I have a few books form the MS Store and, those only work on Edge - UGH! Need an extension or app to make MS Store books work in sparrow. LOL.

Even Chrome is a pain compared to Sparrow, be glad when I can get Sparrow on mobile devices.
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Dick

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Keep getting an error trying to check for update on:
Version 62.1.3202.16127 (Official Build) (stable channel) (64-bit)

Otherwise, its fine. i think some people are either just getting carried away, or have much better service than i do, to say its blazingly fast. For me on a mac its adequate, but don't see any diffference from the Safari Technology Preview browser.
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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Hi Dick,
Could you please a)close all Sparrow browser windows, b)install Viasat Browser from https://browser.viasat.com, c)wait for the bouncing ball to stop bouncing, which indicates that all of your data has been imported, and then d)uninstall Sparrow browser. 

Please note that we have been running field trials to measure Viasat Browser vs. Chrome and 25% of the time we have randomly been disabling Viasat Browser optimizations so that we can measure the difference.  We will soon be dropping that to 10% of the time.  To check if your browser has been randomized to having optimizations disabled, go to viasat://version (once you have installed Viasat Browser) and check whether the word "Chromiumlike" appears on the Command Line.  Every time you close and reopen the browser it will randomly either have optimizations on or off, so if it is slow, close it and re-open it.
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Dick

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Interesting info. Just appreciate someone trying to develop a better browser for the mac. The safari tech preview is better than safari but that's not saying much. Will continue to use this viasat browser and looking forward to continued improvements. Thanks for the quick reply!
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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The Viasat Browser uses machine learning to learn how to make pages faster, so the more that you and others use it, the faster it gets.  We have included an ad, privacy tracker and malware blocker so that our users get a more private and secure browsing experience that uses less data as well.
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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pokeys dokeys everyone!!! :3 ive just installed the viasat browser like 1 month and half ago (i think) SO FAR IMMA LOVING IT!!! :D i decided to uninstall ALL the firefox and google chrome and stuff... IMMA IN LOVE WITH THIS WEB BROWSER!!! :D thanks for letting me have this AWESOMENESS WEB BROWSER!!! <3 AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME TEST IT ALSO!!! <3 I LOVE IT TO DEATH!!! <3 AND I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE IPAD AND THE ANDROID VERISON IS GONNA BE LIKE!!! :D (still onto my ipad web browser and its still slow DX   ) BUT!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS WEB BROWSER SO FRICKING MUCH!!! <3 also keep up the good work guys!!! <3 ALSO!!! KEEP IT PLUS ULTRA STYLE!!!!!!!!!!! <3
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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And we LOVE to hear that!!!  Our developers are working on Android, iPhone, and Linux versions and we will keep you posted on our progress.
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Deku (The #1 Hero Data Saver), Champion

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@>@ OH MY GOODNESS!!! YES YES YES YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! I CANT WAIT FOR THE IPAD VERISON AND THE ANDROID VERISON ALSO!!! :D KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS!!! <3