New Snapshot of Opera 11 Introduces Smarter Address Bar and Visual Mouse Gestures

Almost a month has passed since the release of Opera 11 for desktop (Windows, UNIX and Mac), which finally introduced extensions to the venerable browser, and added some other nifty features like the mail panel. In the meantime, Opera Software has released multiple snapshots with further improvements, and more than a hundred extensions have been submitted to Opera’s official extensions gallery.

Earlier today, the Norwegian browser maker released, what is perhaps the most significant build since the original Opera 11 alpha. The new build fixes a hefty number of bugs, while improving Opera’s extensions API. The most significant changes are:

i) Improved Address Bar: Chrome has already succeeded in redefining the web-browser UI (user interface). It was the first browser to get rid of the complicated menu structure, and merge the tab bar with the address bar. Opera Software implemented this in Opera 10.5. Now, they have taken another leaf out of Chrome’s book to simplify the address bar. The new address bar hides parameters in URL and the protocol prefix (http://, ftp:// etc.), and highlights the main domain name when not in focus. It also prominently displays security information about the website currently open. While some advanced users might be turned off by the new address bar’s tendency to hide URL parameters, the purpose behind this move is clear. Opera Software wants to make it as easy as possible for novice web surfers to spot phishing sites.


ii) New Mouse Gesture UI: Opera was the first browser to add mouse gesture support (with Opera 5 released in 2000), and is still one of the few browsers to offer it out of the box. Mouse Gestures is a brilliantly addictive and useful feature that improves productivity by enabling the user to perform common tasks with a flick of his mouse. Unfortunately, most users aren’t even aware that this feature exists, and even those that are aware, use very few basic gestures. The latest snapshot introduces a new UI that pops up when you right click and hold the mouse for a while (provided that you have enabled Mouse Gestures). This UI guides you through some simple gestures that you are likely to find very handy.


iii) Improved Mail Panel: The newly introduced mail panel has been refined to make to make it more pleasant both visually and in terms of usability.

You can download the latest snapshot from Opera’s Desktop Team blog. However, keep in mind that this is preview build, and has some known (and possibly several unknown) issues.

NotScripts: NoScript Extension for Opera and Chrome

A large number of browser exploits take advantage of JavaScript and third-party plugins like Java and Flash. NoScript is a popular multi-award winning Firefox add-on that blocks all such scripts and plugins, and allows you to intelligently and selectively execute them only on trusted websites.

I have always felt that using NoScript borders on the verge of paranoia, since it hinders normal web browsing experience. However, a lot of people obviously don’t mind this, since NoScript can protect users against scary click-jacking exploits, XSS vulnerabilities and even zero-day exploits that haven’t been discovered yet. Many Opera and Chrome users have been requesting similar functionality for a long time. However, most NoScript implementations for the aforementioned browsers have been limited due to the rigid nature of their APIs. Fortunately, Eric Wong has found an ingenious way of make NoScript work within the framework of Opera and Chrome’s extension library.

NotScripts is a NoScript inspired extension for Opera and Chrome, that utilises storage quota allocated to HTML5 applications and UserJS files to offer many of the functionalities present in NoScript. It supports both whitelist (everything is blocked, unless explicitly allowed) and blacklist (everything is allowed, unless explicitly blocked) approaches, and allows you to block scripts either temporarily or permanently.


NotScripts is still not perfect, and as mentioned earlier, taking a whitelist approach might create usability problems. Nevertheless, NotScripts is the best implementation of NoScript I have seen for either browser.

[ Download NotScripts for Chrome | Opera ]

Opera 11 Extensions: Quick Preview

A short while ago, Opera Software released Opera 11, which finally introduced extension support the venerable desktop browser. Soon after launch, the extension gallery went down, so I wasn’t able to preview the extensions in my earlier article. Fortunately, Opera sorted out the issues quickly and the gallery is back online.

As mentioned earlier, extensions for Opera are simply web applications that adhere to the W3C Widget specifications. They are developed using existing web technologies, and interact with the browser through certain methods made available in the API. Opera expects their implementation to be secure and fast. In fact, all extensions submitted to the gallery will be checked to keep out the buggy and malicious ones.

Extension Installation

Installing as well as uninstalling extensions is a breeze. Like Chrome, Opera doesn’t require a restart for either installation or uninstallation. However, users upgrading over an existing installation should note that extensions don’t seem to get installed properly, if you are using a modified toolbar configuration.

Notification of Installation Completion

Extensions might or might not have a user interface. If the extension has a user interface, it is generally exposed through a button that brings up an overlay screen. The buttons can update themselves dynamically based on the context. For example, a reddit extension button can display the number of upvotes the currently open page has received. Installed extensions can be managed through a dedicated Extensions tab that can be opened from the Opera Menu. Surprisingly, there isn’t any panel for extensions. However, this will be probably added in the future.

Opera 11 Extensions Tab

To kick things off, Opera is showcasing about fifteen extensions for Opera 11. However, in terms of quality, the showcased extensions are frankly all over the place. Some of them are useful, some of them are interesting for demonstration purposes, and some of them are a bit pointless. Listed below are some of extensions I found useful:

i) Fastest Tube – YouTube Downloader: This extension is very similar to the Download YouTube Videos as MP4script for Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. It simply adds a download button to YouTube video pages (next to the embed button). You can download the videos in standard or HD resolutions in FLV as well as MP4 formats.

ii) Translate: This extension is quite obviously inspired by the automatic translation feature of Google Chrome. Whenever you open a page that is not in English, a notification will appear offering to translate the website to English.

Opera 11 Extensions: Translate

iii) Reddited: It adds a button for quickly submitting a page to reddit. If the page has already been reddited, it will display the number of upvotes the page has received and link to the submission.

Opera 11 Extensions: reddited

iv) miniFeed: This extension leverages the Facebook touch website to enable you to quickly check your Facebook stream and even post updates without having to open a new tab.

v) Opera to Phone: If you have an Android device (with FroYo), you can push any link from your Opera browser (for desktop) to the phone with this extension. Again, this functionality is quite obviously inspired by the Chrome to Phone extension provided by Google. In fact, it even utilizes the same Android app.

You can check out all the available extensions at More extensions should start appearing soon. StumbleUpon and LastPass extensions are already under development. Don’t forget to share share your favourite extensions with us.

Opera 11 Alpha Released with Extension Support

The first alpha build of Opera 11 is here. Opera 11 boasts of all the benefits of the Opera 10.7 trunk, and introduces a major new feature – extensions. As revealed in last week’s Up North Web press event, Opera 11 finally allows developers to build add-ons that can interact with the browser and add new features.


To kick things off, the folks at Opera have created about fifteen extensions, which are available for installation from the Opera Extensions Gallery. Unlike Firefox, which allows extensions to pretty much configure any and every aspect of the browser, Opera’s Extensions are essentially web applications (written using HTML, CSS and JavaScript) that can interact with certain aspects of the browser exposed through the API. This is quite similar to the way Chrome handles extensions. As a result, extensions are expected to be more secure and have minimal impact on performance. If you are a developer, check out the video embedded below or head over to for more information. It’s worth keeping in mind though that the API will in all likelihood be expanded in the future to support more functionality.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t check out any of the extensions first hand as at the time of writing this article, Opera’s extensions gallery was getting hammered and was unreachable.

Opera 11 will also benefit from the speed improvements introduced in the Opera 10.7 snapshots. Although, I didn’t conduct any benchmarks of my own, I expect Opera to hold onto its healthy lead over Chrome and other browsers in the performance department.

Browser Performance Benchmark (via BetaNews)

There are a few minor UI changes also. Again, anyone who used the 10.7 snapshots will already be familiar with these. Opera has added a new Mail Panel to quickly switch between different accounts or RSS Feed sources., and the personal bar has been replaced with a new bookmarks bar, which appears below the address bar.

Opera 11 continues Opera’s push towards supporting latest web technologies. New in this version is support for HTML5 server-sent events and websockets. Several dozen bugs have also been squished since the Opera 10.6 release.

You can download the alpha build for Windows, Mac and UNIX from

Opera 11 Coming Soon: Will Introduce Extensions

While Opera is the leading mobile web browser developer, it seems forever destined to be the little guy in the desktop segment. It’s fast, functional and secure, yet it has never quite managed to catch the fancy of a large section of internet users in the way Firefox and Chrome did.

In my honest opinion, the biggest chink in Opera’s armor has been extensibility. Sure, you can modify the toolbar, edit the context menu, install bookmarklets and buttons, and even play around with widgets; however, when it comes to really captivating and powerful extensions like StumbleUpon or LastPass, Opera doesn’t have an answer.

Extensions are something I have been requesting for a long long time. Opera always seemed to be reluctant to introduce an API due to security and performance concerns. Fortunately, the Norwegians have finally found a way to implement extensions without impacting performance or compromising security.


At its Up North Web press event, Opera Software revealed that extension support will be one of the new features in Opera 11. Opera Software is taking a leaf out of Chrome’s book when it comes to implementing their API. Opera extensions will be developed using open web standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. “Extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications and this is being considered for an Open Standard effort”, wrote Espen André Øverdahl, Opera’s community manager.

An alpha build of Opera 11 is expected to be released soon. In the meantime, check out this video from TechCrunch, which demonstrates Reddit, Wikipedia and StumbleUpon extensions for Opera.

Opera 10.60 Released: Boosts Speed, Standards Support and Security

Opera Software, the little Norwegian browser maker that pioneered many of the modern web browser features, has just released Opera 10.60. As suggested by the version number, the new build is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Opera 10.60 builds upon the 10.5x releases and polishes many of the significant changes introduced in the previous releases.


Visual Enhancements

Opera 10.60 refines the existing skin by making subtle but noticeable all-around adjustments. The hideous O-menu button has been replaced by a more civilized looking button. Hover thumbnail tab previews have been cleaned up and internal tabs (like Feeds, Mail, Notes and Downloads) have been graced with pretty looking icons. Also, Speed Dials now makes better utilization of the width afforded by wide-screen monitors.

Standard Support Enhancements

HTML5 has become quite the buzzword these days. Of course, thanks to the misleading usage by vendors like Apple, most people have come to associate HTML5 with any new web technology that is cool. That being said, Opera 10.60 truely delivers better HTML5 and other standards support. With this stable release, it becomes the first browser to support WebM videos. Also supported in this release are standards like Geolocation, Appcache and Web Workers. You can find more information on these new technologies here.

Performance Enhancements


Also included in Opera 10.60 is the customary speed improvement. I didn’t do any benchmarks with the final build, but Opera claims that the new build fares 50% better than it’s predecessor in some benchmarks. Earlier, Opera 10.60 alpha had managed to edge out Chrome’s dev channel releases.

Security Enhancements

Opera has added AVG anti fraud, malware and phishing feeds to beef up it’s phishing and malware protection feature. According to Opera, “Live feeds supply fresh information on the latest web threats to the users and keep them in the know about potential malware, harm or scams”. In certain regions, Opera will also be using data supplied by Yandex for fraud protection.

Other Enhancements

Live Search Suggestions are coming to Opera. For now, it works only with few search engines like Wikipedia. Hopefully, more search engines will be supported in the near future. Opera has also added Bing as an search option. Google remains the default search engine, but Bing will be used as the Speed Dial search engine.

This is also the first time UNIX users would get to try the significant enhancements introduced in Opera 10.50, since Opera was not offered in final version for the 10.5x series.

Opera 10.60 for Windows/Mac/UNIX can be downloaded from You can view real-time downloads of the browser in an interactive map available at

First Release Candidate for Opera 10.60 Is Here

The developers at Opera seem to be really keen to polish up and release Opera 10.60 as soon as possible. In a span of less than two weeks (since the beta), Opera Software has released as many as seven builds. Of course, this is a good thing. I am taking the urgency on Opera’s part to be an indication that they are itching to start working full throttle on Opera 11.

Anyway, the veteran browser developer has just released the first release candidate (RC) for Opera 10.60. If you are already using the beta, then there aren’t any major surprises in store for you. This build is essentially a bug fix release. However, the list of bugs squashed is fairly large. If you are experiencing inconsistent behavior with your current Opera 10.60 build, then the release candidate is a highly recommended update for you.


If you are still on the Opera 10.5x trunk, then Opera 10.60 has quite a few nice changes for you. Check out our previous coverage to learn about the improved standard support and the miscellaneous visual and performance enhancements introduced in Opera 10.60.

This time around, Opera will be releasing the final build for all platforms simultaneously. This is especially good news for UNIX users, who didn’t receive a stable Opera 10.5x build.

[ Download Opera 10.60 RC 1 for Windows/Mac/UNIX ]

Opera 10.54 Fixes Multiple Security Issues

Opera-10.54 Opera Software has just released Opera 10.54, which is a highly recommended security update. This release fixes multiple security issues, including one which allowed Opera to be used as a vehicle for exploiting a flaw in font handling in Windows operating system. Here is the full changelog:

  • Prevented Opera from being used as a vector for a font issue in the underlying operating system, as reported by Microsoft’s security team; see our advisory.
  • Fixed an extremely severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a highly severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a moderately severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a less severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.

As you can see, the Norwegian browser maker has been surprisingly vague while describing the security vulnerabilities that have been fixed in this release. The most probable reason for this is “responsible disclosure”. Opera’s changelog strongly hints that other applications (most probably browsers) are also vulnerable to the same exploits.

Last week, Opera Software released Opera 10.60 Beta 1, which propelled Opera to the front of the pack once again, in terms of rendering speed. The good news is that, if you are using Opera 10.60 Beta 1 or a newer build, you are already protected and you don’t need to downgrade to Opera 10.54.

[ Download Opera 10.54 ]

Opera 10.60 Beta 1 Released – Speed, Geolocation, WebM and More

Earlier today, Opera Software released the first beta build of Opera 10.60. Regular Techie Buzz readers are probably already aware of all the major new features, since Opera 10.60 beta doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen in the snapshot builds. Here is a quick recap:

Speed: Not willing to be left behind by the likes of Chrome and Safari, Opera has amped its JavaScript engine. The end result is that it outperforms Chrome Dev. 6, Safari 5 and Firefox nightlies in almost all the JavaScript benchmark tests.

WebM: WebM is Google’s new open video platform that will hopefully become the de-facto standard on the web. Opera was quick to release an experimental build when WebM was announced and has now merged it with the main trunk.

Geolocation: Opera has been toying with the W3C Geolocation API for a long time. In brief, the Geolocation API can be leveraged by services like Twitter and FourSquare to guess your location without requiring the use of a GPS device. Check out this article to get a deeper understanding of the Geolocation API.

Web Workers: This is a new technology that allows web applications to spawn background processes to improve performance through greater parallelism.

AppCache: AppCache or Application Cache is a new HTML5 technology designed to provide offline access to web applications. You can think of it as a standards based alternative to Google Gears.


Improved UI: Opera has received numerous visual tweaks, which makes the overall experience more pleasant. Among other things, the ugly O button has been replaced with a more dignified Menu button, tab previews as well as internal tab thumbnails are prettier, speed dials now work better in wide-screen monitors and search previews provide suggestions as you type (available for Wikipedia).

Opera 10.60 beta is so fast, it will blow you away,says Chief Development Officer, Christen Krogh, Opera Software. Beyond the speed boost, the latest version of Opera improves on our robust HTML5 support and provides more options for quick and efficient Web search through your preferred search engines. By combining raw speed with intuitive and easy-to-use features, Opera places you among the fastest Internet users on the planet.

Opera 10.60 Beta 1 is available for Windows, Mac and UNIX and can be downloaded from

New Opera 10.60 Snapshot Introduces Better HTML 5 Standards Support

Opera 10 HTML5 and standards are quite the buzzwords these days. While Microsoft is desperately trying to catch up, others are determined to maintain their lead. Opera Software has released yet another snapshot build of Opera 10.60, which boosts the already excellent standard support offered by Opera.

The new snapshot includes:

  • WebM support for HTML5 video (demo)
  • HTML5 Offline Web Applications (demo)
  • Geolocation (demo – only partially implemented on FreeBSD/Linux)
  • Web Workers (demo – might be a slight delay before it starts working)
  • Major update for Cross-Document Messaging (demo)

Of course, other than this, there are the customary bug fixes and stability improvements. Opera 10.60 snapshot for Windows, Mac and UNIX can be downloaded from here. However, keep in mind that this build is not yet ready for primetime and probably contains several bugs.