Today saw the first major release Opera since I’ve worked there, when Opera released version 10. As Molly says,
Opera 10 marks a new time for our browser, with its sexy new UI, cherry-red restyled “O” logo, standards support including many advanced features not found elsewhere, and improved developer tools. Not only that, but to coin a silly Carpenter’s song…”we’ve only just begun.”
What is particularly exciting for me is the amount of features it offers for the consumer. (There’s lots for developers, like Web Fonts, increased standards support and an enhanced Opera Dragonfly debugging tool.)
Opera has always had a reputation of being a browser for the “power user” as it’s so customisable, but that can often be off-putting for non-geeky customers (I’m thinking of my Dad here).
So Opera 10 adds spell-checking and auto-updates, as well as a much sleeker user interface in which you can move the tabs where you want them by hovering over the tabs, right clicking and choosing “Tab bar placement” (see my 45 second amateur YouTube tutorial).
Speed dial is now easily customisable (before you had to edit a config file—never much fun for a user) and you can add a background image too.
These make all the pre-existing features (sessions, mouse gestures, excellent keyboard support) all the more usable to the mass market.
One feature outshines all the others, though, for people using Opera 10 desktop outside of the industrialised world (or in crowded WiFi hotspots), and that is Opera Turbo. This speeds up browsing dramatically over slow connections, by compressing images —on the assumption that mostly you want to read the content rather than look at the pictures; if picture quality is important, you just turn Turbo off. (This works on slow connections, when compressing the images is faster than sending them down a slow line. On broadband, it’s faster to send them down the line than it is to compress them on a proxy.)
I’m proud to see this release, which strives to bring an excellent browsing experience to all, regardless of geography or infrastructure.
But enough seriousness. Check out this fun video about Norwegians’ love for compression and flat-packing: