Opera Software has just released the final build of Opera 11.10, codenamed as Barracuda. For a point update, Barracuda features a pretty impressive change log.
Visually, the biggest change is the new “flow layout” for speed dials. Opera has given a facelift to one of its most popular features. No longer are you limited to a pre-defined number of speed dials, which are nothing but visual bookmarks embedded in the “New Tab” page. Now, you can (theoretically) add as many shortcuts as you want. The layout is automatically adjusted depending upon your screen resolution and the number of speed dial entries. There is also a zoom slider, which can be used to manually configure the speed dial layout. The thumbnails are now generated using a smart algorithm, and are a lot prettier.
Internally, Barracuda features a new version of Presto, Opera’s rendering engine. New developer oriented features include support for CSS3 multi-column layouts and gradients, the Web Open Font Format (WOFF), and Google’s WebP image protocol. After Chrome, Opera is the first browser to support WebP, Google’s new lossy image format, which provides 39% (on an average) better compression than standard JPEG images.
One of the best ways to speed up your surfing experience when you are on a slow internet connection is to use Opera Turbo. Now, with a little help from WebP, Opera is taking Turbo to the next level.
By reducing the size of the webpage, the Opera Turbo feature boosts browsing speeds by four times or more. In previous versions, this meant reducing the quality of images. Now, overall image quality is greatly improved thanks to our engineering brains and the use of Google’s new WebP image format. In our lab tests, the new Opera Turbo produces 35 percent smaller pages and was 15 percent faster than Opera 11.
Opera Turbo with Enhanced Image Compression
Another handy improvement is the introduction of seamless plugin installation. Unlike some of its competitors, Opera has decided against including popular plugins like Flash in the installer itself. Instead it will automatically download the required plugin in the background, when it is required.
There are numerous other minor improvements like discoverability and a power saving mode (for Windows Vista and Windows 7). Go ahead and take Opera 11.10 for a spin on your Windows, UNIX or Mac machine by downloading it from www.opera.com.