Opera 10.60 Alpha 1 – Faster and Sexier Than Ever Before

The battle for speed between Chrome and Opera rages on. While, others like Firefox and Internet Explorer are struggling to stay in the race, Google and Opera Software are continuously setting the bar higher.

Opera-10.6-Speed-Benchmark

Opera Software has just released Opera 10.60 alpha, which introduces performance improvements for JavaScript, DOM and CSS. The newest alpha build fares 76% better Opera 10.5 in the Peacekeeper benchmark, with further speed improvements being promised for the beta build.

Opera-10.6-Interface

The newest alpha also sports numerous user interface improvements. The repulsive “O” button has been replaced by a prettier (and more obvious) Menubutton, while the annoying taskbar tabs for Windows 7 is have been disabled (they can be re-enabled from here). Other visual tweaks include prettier hover thumbnail tab previews and the use of icons instead of thumbnails for certain internal tabs like RSS Feed and Mail.

The new build also features dozens of stability improvements and bug fixes across all platforms. If you are feeling adventurous, you can download Opera 10.60 alpha for Windows, UNIX and Mac from here. However, keep in mind that this is an alpha release and is likely to be buggy.

Opera’s World Record Speed Test Video Mocks Google Chrome

Remember the uber-cool speed test video created by the Chrome team? If you don’t, check it out (embedded below). Right now!

Google benchmarked their browser against lightning, sound and even potatoes. Unfortunately for Chrome, and fortunately for us, the folks at Opera got inspired by Chrome’s awesome speed tests and decided conduct one of their own.

The Norwegian comedy duo of Odd and Even Johansen were tasked with finding out if Opera was faster than boiling a potato. The result is pure comic gold. Here is the brilliant parody by Opera.

There is nothing subtle about the above video, but its always fun to watch rival companies taking a dig at each other. Google, now its your turn.

Opera 10.53 Beta For Linux And FreeBSD Released

The folks at the Opera Software ASA have released the Opera 10.53 beta version for Linux and FreeBSD. This beta release of Opera for linux has made the web browser faster, and more feature-rich. The new beta version also has better integration with KDE and Gnome desktop environments. There is also full support for skinning in Opera 10.53 in Linux.

Linux has always been a priority at Opera, as many people within our own walls are devoted users,said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder, Opera Software. It was important for us in this release to make altopera-logoerations to our terms of usage, in order to make Opera even easier to distribute on Linux.

Opera had released the final version of Opera 10.5x for Windows two months ago, and the Mac version just a week ago. According to the folks at Opera, the Opera 10.5x is the world’s fastest browser. The new version of Opera web browser features a new Carakan JavaScript engine and the Vega graphics library. All these under the hood changes, make Opera 10.5x up to 8 times faster than Opera 10.10 in certain tests.

The new version also includes a brand new rendering engine the Presto 2.5. The new version also offers a Private browsing option to its users. Opera has also made changes to its End User License agreement for easier distribution of the software. The new End User License allows Opera 10.53 Beta to be included in software distribution repositories for wide distribution.

Hera are the major changes in this new release :

Browse with unprecedented speed Our new Carakan JavaScript engine and Vega graphics library make Opera 10.5x more than 8 times faster than Opera 10.10 on tests like Sunspider.

  • Leave no trace Private browsing offers windows and tabs that eliminate their browsing history when closed, ensuring your privacy.
  • Control your view easily Zooming in and out of Web pages is easier with a new zoom slider and view controls accessible from the status bar.
  • Redefine widgets Widgets are now installed as normal applications on your computer and can work separately from the browser.
  • More elegant look and feel The user interface for Linux has been reworked, and the new Omenu allows access to all features previously available in the menu bar. The menu bar can be easily reinstated.
  • No more Qt dependence Opera’s user interface now integrates with either GNOME/GTK or KDE libraries, depending on the users’ installation.
  • Turbo-charged browsing When surfing on slow, congested networks, for example at an airport or on a train, Opera Turbo comes to the rescue, ensuring the fastest page loading no matter the crowd. Tests show that Opera Turbo provides about 65% faster browsing on Edge and around 50% faster browsing speed on 3G networks.

Users can download Opera 10.53 Beta for linux from here.

Opera Acquires Web Based E-mail Service Fastmail.FM

Opera-Fastmil.FM In a surprising move, Opera Software has acquired web based e-mail provider FastMail.FM for an undisclosed sum. FastMail will continue to operate as usual for the moment; however, changes are definitely in the pipeline.

Back in the day, FastMail.FM used to be one of the best free e-mail providers. However, it was one of many email providers left in the lurch by the Gmail revolution. While others like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail have marched into the modern webmail era by introducing desktop client like interfaces, huge inbox sizes and other fancy features, FastMail.FM still feels like a reminder of the bygone days.

Exactly what Opera plans to do with Fastmail.FM is not clear. However, it’s safe to assume that Fastmail will be replacing the existing Opera Mail service. Opera has also hinted that it will be building upon FastMail to deliver cross-platform messaging.

Excerpts from Opera’s Press Release:

Opera Software today announced that it has acquired Web-based e-mail provider FastMail.fm. The acquisition will enable Opera to expand its current messaging product portfolio and deliver cross-platform messaging to a wide range of devices, including computers, mobile phones, TVs and gaming consoles.

Since the release of Opera 4 in 2000, Opera’s desktop browser has included its own innovative e-mail client. Following this acquisition, Opera will be able to offer a consistent e-mail experience across all products. Opera currently has more than 50 million users of its desktop browser and more than 55 million users of Opera Mini, a mobile Web browser that works on almost all handsets available today.

The newest generation of Web users will discover the Web through a mobile device. Having world-class messaging capability alongside a rich and compelling Web experience is essential. By combining forces, Opera and FastMail.fm can offer messaging on any device. This will enhance the value Opera provides to consumers, while assisting our operator partners in reducing customer churn,says Rolf Assev, Chief Strategy Officer, Opera Software.

Excerpts from Fastmail’s Statement:

In an increasingly competitive market, we believe we need to make some big investments to take the next steps forward. Joining together Opera’s expertise in web browsers and especially the mobile market, and FastMail.FM’s expertise in email, will allow us to grow and take on the next big challenges in running and building an email service.

The FastMail.FM staff are also excited about this change. We’ve already been working with Opera’s technical teams to exchange expertise, and to develop new and innovative products. Some FastMail.FM staff are already gearing up to move to Norway (Hei!), and vice-versa. Also one of our great long-term part time developers (Neil Jenkins), who helped develop the photo gallery feature, and the new webmail interface (all the HTML, CSS and JS), is going to work for Opera full-time as well, so he’ll be available to work with the email team to build an even better interface!

With Opera’s expertise, and the combined technical talent of our staff, we believe we’ll be able to create a significantly better FastMail for customers in the future.

Opera 10.53 Released – Fixes Highly Critical Security Vulnerability

Opera-10.53-UNIX-Beta-RC Opera software has pushed through another update to its desktop browser. Opera 10.53 is expected to be officially released tomorrow and is a recommended security and stability update.

Opera 10.53 fixes a possibly highly critical vulnerability, which was pointed out by Secunia. This vulnerability affects Opera 10.52 for Windows and may be used by hackers to execute malicious code. This release also fixes a few other issues including freeze-ups on Google Maps. It is not clear as to what has changed in Opera 10.53 for Mac.

In related news, Opera has also released a Beta Release Candidate i.e. a build that is almost as good as Beta, for UNIX. Although this build has some known issues including lack of support for Java and font issues with certain TrueType fonts, it is generally considered good enough for everyday use. Download it if you love to test new products, but don’t use it as your only browser.

[ Download Opera 10.53 for Windows and Macintosh ]
[ Download Opera Snapshot for UNIX ]

Opera 10.52 for Mac Released: Features Cocoa Integration and Pinch to Zoom

Yet another week and yet another major release from the folks at Opera Software. This time it’s the Mac users who have reason to celebrate. Opera 10.52 for Mac, which is the first stable build of the Opera 10.5x trunk for Mac, has been released.

Opera 10.52 for Mac includes all the features of its Windows counterpart, including Opera Widgets for Desktop, Private Browsing, Non-modal notification messages, Opera Presto 2.5 rendering engine, Opera Carakan JavaScript engine and Opera Vega graphics library.

Some of the highlights of this Mac release are:

    Opera-10.52-Mac

  • Improved UI: Opera 10.52 looks like a native Macintosh app and behaves like one, thanks to the Cocoa integration. The design has been overhauled to include a unified toolbar and other miscellaneous improvements.
  • Opera-10.52-Speed-Test
    Opera 10.52 for Mac: Peacekeeper Results

  • Speed: Opera 10.52 introduces the Carakan JavaScript engine, which is one of the fastest (if not the fastest) JavaScript engines in the market.

    Opera-10.52-Speed-Turbo
    Opera 10.52 for Mac: Impact of Turbo onf Page Load Time

    When coupled with Opera Turbo, which compresses webpages before routing them to your computer, Opera 10.52 can deliver blazing fast browsing speed.

  • Multi-touch Support: Opera 10.52 also introduces multi-touch support, which takes advantage of the multi-touch trackpads present in modern Macbooks. Pinch to zoom or use two fingers to scroll and three fingers to navigate back and forth in your browser history, all from your trackpad.

The Windows build of Opera 10.52 mainly delivers bug fixes and performance improvements. Linux users have been left out for now. Nevertheless, Opera 10.5x for Linux has been making steady progress over the past few weeks and expect a final build within a few weeks.

[ Download Opera 10.52 for Mac or Windows ]

Opera Software Now Has 100 Million Users – Only 50% Are On Desktop

Opera-100-Million It seems that Opera loves to stay in the news. Now that they have taken a break from releasing new products at a breakneck pace, they are keeping themselves busy by drafting self-congratulatory press releases. The latest one celebrates the fact that Opera Software reached the milestone of having 100 million users in March.

Of course, this is not a surprising piece of news, since Opera Mini had amassed 50 million users in January 2010 itself. The desktop version was reported as having 45 million users back in December 2009.

As always, there are two ways of looking at these stats. The fact that Opera Mini has rocketed to 50 million users bodes well for Opera Software. However, its desktop browser continues to disappoint. Opera may have added 40 million active users since it went free, but its market share still pales in comparison to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In fact, according to most analytic firms, Opera for desktop is still struggling to touch the 3% mark.

Opera 10.5 was undoubtedly an impressive release, but Chrome’s recent beta builds have once again highlighted the glaring omissions in Opera. In spite of being around for more than a decade, Opera still doesn’t have an intelligent form filler and the lack of an API means that others can’t build one either. Google has been incredibly smart about Chrome. Since they outset they have targeted key features and now their vision is paying rich dividends. Until Opera Software wakes up, it will continue to struggle to go mainstream.

Opera 10.51 for Windows Released – Now Faster Than Ever Before

Opera-10.51 Opera Software has just released Opera 10.51 for Windows, which is a recommended security and stability update. As suggested by its version number, the changes are mostly under the hood and there are no new features.

This build addresses a couple of highly critical security issues, including the malformed HTTP Content-Length header issue, which we had discussed earlier;. The other security issue is related to XSLT (XSL Transformations). Due to a bug, it was possible to use certain XSLT constructs to retrieve random contents of unrelated documents (including sensitive data from previously visited websites).

Opera-10.51-Peacekeeper-Speed-Benchmark

Opera 10.51 also includes Carakan (Opera’s JavaScript engine) optimizations. As a result, it should be faster than ever before. In fact, PeaceKeeper scores can be 20-30% higher than in Opera 10.50. This is quite a significant achievement, since Carakan was already faster than its competitors.

The official changelog is fairly big and a large number of UI inconsistencies and bugs have been quashed in this release. Opera 10.51 can be downloaded from opera.com/download.

Browser Choice Screen Results In 130% Increase in Opera’s Downloads

As expected, the browser choice screen (also known as the browser ballot) is having a significant positive impact on alternate browsers. Norwegian browser maker Opera Software has revealed that they are experiencing a 130% increase in browser download rates as a result of the choice screen. In fact, the choice screen now accounts for as much as 53% of the total downloads from Europe.

Opera-Downloads-Increase-Browser-Choice

The effect is most pronounced in Poland where the browser choice screen has led to a three-fold increase in the download rates and now accounts for 77% of all downloads. Downloads from Spain, Italy and Denmark have also increased significantly. Surprisingly enough, Norway is one of the countries least affected by the browser screen. Perhaps, this is because awareness about the homegrown browser is already high in Norway.

Although, Apple and Google have declined to share any statistic, both Opera and Firefox have confirmed that they are experiencing significantly increased download rates. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see if the browser choice screen manages to have a significant effect on browser market.

Opera Mini 5 Beta For Android Released

Close on the heels of the launch of Opera Mini for Windows Mobile, Opera Software has released Opera Mini 5 beta for Android handsets.

The new beta for Android contains all the features we have come to love in Opera Mini. It attempts to provide a desktop like browsing experience through features such as tabbed browsing, visual speed dial, bookmarks and password manager. Android users should not have to compromise when it comes to surfing the Web on their phones. Opera Mini will give Android users a fast and cost-efficient access to their favorite Web sites and services,said Dag Olav Norem, Vice President of Products, Opera Software.

Opera-Mini-Android

Opera Mini lacks multi-touch and flash support, but tries to make up for the missing features through sheer speed. All webpages are compressed (by up to 90%) before being sent to your device. This dramatically increases browsing speed while reducing your bandwidth bills.

Android users can download Opera Mini from the Android marketplace or by visiting m.opera.com/next with their Android browser.