Opera has been releasing new builds of 10.5 (Evenes) at a furious pace. They have just released the third new build within a week and the big news is the inclusion of Geolocation API.
The Geolocation API is a set of specifications developed by the W3C whose basic objective is to estimate the geographic location of the user. The estimation is done using an amalgamation various techniques. If you are using a desktop computer without any wireless component then it will simply use your IP Address to estimate your location. On the other hand, if you connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi hotspot it will refer to a database of known Wi-Fi access points to calculate your location. Additional factors like signal strength are also taken into consideration in order to improve accuracy. Any location aware service can request this information from the browser to automatically pinpoint the user’s location.
Geolocation support isn’t exactly new to Opera. In fact, Opera was one of the early adopters and had released a geolocation enabled build in March 09. However, this is the first time that the feature has been included in the main product stream. Firefox and Chrome are other browsers which support Geolocation.
Recent builds of Opera 10.5 are fairly stable and are quite usable. However, it is still not ready to be used as a primary browser. There are several known issues with this build including broken Unite application installation. With the beta for Windows being around the corner, you might want to wait. However, in case you decide to give it a try, you are probably going to be blown away by Opera’s speed.