Tag Archives: Opera

Opera 11.10 Released; Features Faster Turbo, Prettier Speed Dials, and More

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.

Opera-Barracuda-Speed-Dial

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
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.

Opera 11.10 RC Released – Includes Power Saving Mode

Opera today introduced Opera 11.10 “Barracuda” Release Candidate (build 2081) with more enhanced user interface and bringing in stability.

 

opera-11-10-beta

The Opera 11.10 Beta finally brings in cleaner Speed Dial and ability to see live content. It also brings in tons of fixes like search (where you couldn’t search keyword more than 3 letters), flash content etc. You can check the entire change log here.

One of the most important addition to the Opera 11.10 Beta has been the Power Saving Mode. Opera 11.10 Beta detects when your laptop is not connected to power and consumes less power. This mode is currently available only on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Besides that, with this release you can seamlessly install and use Opera Addons.  It also uses the new Opera Presto 2.8 rendering engine and adds support for the Google WebP image format.

Check out the video:

You can download Opera 11.10 Beta from here.

PS: Since it’s a beta it would work better on a clean install.

My Opera Mail Based On Fastmail Is Here

For those who do not know, Opera the browser company also provides a mailing service based on Fastmail. The mailing service is known as Opera Mail and it just got integrated with myOpera to provide a seamless mailing experience. We covered the possibilities of this merger about a month back and finally, it is here today.

my-opera-mail

Opera is also working on launching a brand new email service, which will be integrated with myOpera. We will soon unveil a brand new webmail service where you will be using your existing My Opera username and password to log in, teased Opera’s Haavard Moen.

Opera acquired Fastmail back in April last year and it took them a year to integrate it with Opera Mail. However, this recent development came faster than I expected. With this integration in place, you can now log in to your My Opera Mail account at the URL  mail.opera.com. This page accepts the same account you use across all opera services (Unite, Links and likewise).

The My Opera blog announces this by saying,

Our goal is to make a fast and friendly mail service that is efficient and easy to use on any device, whether you prefer to access your e-mail from Opera Mini on a mobile phone (dedicated mobile interface), a tablet with touch interface (large, comfortable buttons) or a desktop computer (extensive keyboard shortcuts).

The service is still in beta and has one of the new features Opera has been working on for sometime: threaded conversations. More changes are yet to come though, myOpera Mail needs to bring something remarkable to get more users convert over from other mailing services people use already.

Firefox 5 Plans Revealed; Tech Enthusiasts Rip It Off

Disclosure: I use Google Chrome as my primary browser, Opera as secondary and Firefox as my third browser. I use IE9 too and have used various other browsers. In fact, when Netscape was around I used it pretty often (since Netscape 2) and have also been an early adopter of Firefox because of tabs and continued to use it pretty often until Google came out with Chrome.

A technology site Conceivably Tech came out with a new outlook that Mozilla has planned. According to them, it includes an inbuilt PDF viewer, a new Home Tab (ala and ), social sharing and more.

Mozilla Firefox

For the record, these are new features which 5 intends to build, but these are not new features at all and are already available in other browsers today. As I had posted earlier, Firefox 5 did want to add site specific features like Internet Explorer 9 has right now. All in all Mozilla is shunning innovation and does not have it’s mind in the right place and I frankly think that Firefox and Mozilla have seriously lost it.

Since Chrome came out in late 2008, each and every browser has just tried to mimic it, but most have failed miserably. This could be in my eyes only, but many browsers including Firefox have been doing nothing but mimicking the look and feel of Chrome and I have hardly found a compelling reason to switch from Chrome and go to another browser. I really don’t count the “new tab related features” Firefox 4 built in, because I know that several users including me don’t even care about it.

Chrome is fast, is fast, IE9 is fast, Opera 11 is fast. However, the fact remains that all these years you (Mozilla) promised to provide users with a alternative to Internet Explorer, which was a pain in the posterior and sucked. But somehow Microsoft took away the momentum from Firefox with IE, if not Chrome, and introduced a new feature in Internet Explorer 9, which Mozilla will be now calling “Social sharing” in Firefox 5.

Also Firefox is thinking about an inbuilt PDF viewer after Chrome already did it, and a new home tab that is similar to Google Chrome and Opera? Mozilla,  where is the innovation that kept you apart?

What happened to you Mozilla? Weren’t you the leader in browser innovation? Why did you slack off? Why did you create Firefox 3.0 all through 3.6 which hung my PC more often than any other software ever did? Why does Firefox eat so much memory that I find my 6GB rig an ancient model from 1980s?

I am not the only one to pan the next beauty from Mozilla. You might want to check out the comments on Slashdot and it is really not looking good. I will just post a apfew of the comments here and you shall get the general perception about Firefox:

Facebook? Twitter? Since when did Mozilla integrate commercial websites into their browser? Since integrating the Google search engine? Since AOL? This is why Netscape and Mozilla were originally kept separate. To keep the commercial bloat in the Netscape browser and allow the community to use Mozilla.

We need a security and functionality oriented fork ASAP. Performance matters also.

Nobody asked for changes to the interface. The interface to Firefox was never broken and nobody complained about it.

Nobody asked for the “awesome bar” or whatever the hell that is. If it improves productivity then fine, tabs make sense, but the majority of this shit is just gimmicks. Integrating the cloud makes sense but not when it’s specifically “facebook” and “twitter”, but to allow anyone to select anything and make it completely transparent and open. They are going commercial in a really bad sell out kind of way, and you can tell the developers I said it.

Why not just take the Chromium tree and figure out how to run Firefox extensions on there and just call that Firefox? Would save time and have much better memory use and performance. Firefox is basically converging on a Chrome clone with slightly worse performance and some dumb UI hacks that will end up largely unused/abandoned (like Panorama). Isn’t all this what the extension ecosystem is for? Why would a team that already is overwhelmed by the task of testing its product incorporate MORE features to test? My main issue with Firefox right now is not a lack of Facebook integration (-_-) but the obvious memory leakage in the released FF 4 with AdBlock/NoScript, which was present through the entire last half of the beta cycle. Mozilla has really wandered off the reservation here. I want a solid, fast browser that supports the great extensions that Mozilla didn’t write, and continues to support developments in the core web standards space. If I want Chrome or Flock, I’ll just download those, seriously.

For more on such beauties visit Slashdot. I am really disappointed with you Mozilla/Firefox. This does not make it any better.

Google’s Gmail Motion April Fools’ Day Joke Turned Into Reality with Kinect

As we are aware, Google loves itself some April Fools gags. The more memorable pranks from Google include the likes of Pigeon Rank, Google Gulp, Gmail Paper, Google Topeka, CADIE, and Animal Translator. This year, the Gmail team announced the launch of Gmail Motion – a cutting edge technology that can use your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into actions for controlling Gmail.

To be honest, this wasn’t exactly a fresh idea. Opera Software had pulled off a similar trick a couple of years back with Face Gestures. In fact, noting the similarity between Face Gestures and Gmail Motion, Choose Opera joined in on the fun.

“For us, Google’s latest innovation was just an April Fools joke a few years back, so we are really impressed with them actually taking this to the market. We called our invention “Face Gestures”, but “Motion” is probably a better name for a product that is not only a joke”, says Jan Standal, the boss of Desktop Products here at Opera.
When Aleksander, our Face Gestures model, was asked about his opinion on Google Motion turning the kinesthetic technology into reality, his eyes welled with tears of joy and said: “I knew this day would come.”

Of course, both Opera and Google were just being being playful. However, the joke is now on Google. A few enterprising folks have turned Google’s April Fools’ joke into reality using Microsoft’s technology. In less than a day, the FAAST crew that brought us the WoW (World of Warcraft) keyboard emulator has cooked up a real-world Gmail Motion application for Kinect.

FAAST is calling their software SLOOW or Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving. Check out the video embedded below to see the salient features of Gmail Motion like opening an envelope to compose mail, and licking the stamp to send mail in action.

Flickr Adds Sharing Options – Withdraws Support for Opera

It’s good to see some updates from a site that Yahoo! is planning on sun setting. Flickr recently received some updates and has added some cool sharing options to its web interface.

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The new features include:

  • Logged in users can now easily share their photos on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress or email them. While users who aren’t logged in can share it to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Flickr has also added the ability to share private photos on Facebook. Once you share your private photos on Facebook, they become public for your friends on Facebook.

While the new features are more than welcome, in the process, Flickr has also removed support for the Opera Web browser. Ross from Flickr staff stating that in order to offer increased efficiency to other browsers they have restricted developments for Opera. He says,

I’m sorry that some pages no longer work on Opera. In order to work most efficiently for our users, we have to limit what browsers we support; that’s just the reality of modern web development. We have made the decision to not support Opera, due to the fact that it has a lot of non-standard rendering behaviors and is used by such a small percentage of Flickr members. This means that new features may not work, and that the site in general might even stop working.
I recommend downloading the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead.

Flickr for Opera is now less than usable. The sharing options does offer ability to share photos on Twitter and Facebook but it’s just the normal tweet button where the Flickr photo does not appear in the Twitter web interface but is rather just a shortened link by Twitter itself. Besides that, even the action function does not offer full functionality.

Opera-Flickr-Share

Opera-actions

Google Looks to Curb Chrome’s Ballooning Installer Size, Constitutes Task Force to Reverse the Bloat

Three years ago, Google shook up the browser world by announcing Chrome. Since then, it has gone on to redefine what we expect from a modern web browser. Even if you are not a Chrome user, you are probably reaping the benefits of the innovations introduced by Google. Almost all browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari, have adopted the minimalistic appearance introduced by Chrome.

Chrome, which started off as a bare-bones browser, has added a significant number of features to its repertoire over the past few years. However, the new features have come at a cost. As pointed out by Shankland, it has gone from being approximately 9 MB in version 1.0 to more than 26 MB in version 10.0.

Google-Chrome-Installer-Size
Google Chrome Installer Size (Chart by Shankland)

Chrome is currently smaller than Safari, which is a 34 MB download, but is doing a lot worse than Firefox and Opera. Firefox 4 is a 12 MB download, while Opera 11.10 Beta measures in at just 9 MB.

The increase in broadband penetration around the world means that download size is less of an issue than it was three years back. However, it’s still an issue. Opera recently changed its installer, and stopped bundling Unite extensions to reduce the download size. The chief disadvantages of having a large binary size pointed out by Chrome Developer Ian Fette are:

1. We do distribution deals with Chrome, where we bundle Chrome with other products. These get difficult when our binary grows.
2. We see increased download failures / install dropoffs as the binary grows, especially in countries with poor bandwidth like India. India also happens to be a very good market for Chrome (we have good market share there and growing), so that’s also very problematic.

One way to tackle the problem of failed installations would be to provide an offline installer, instead of the web-installer that Google currently serves by default. The other way is, of course, to reduce the download size. Google has decided to take the second route. It has launched a new task force that will aggressively look at options to reduce the installation size. While the Windows edition of Chrome is the primary focus of attention, Chrome for other platforms should also benefit from this move.

It would be irresponsible to dub Chrome as a bloat. Nevertheless, it’s true that the installer is larger than I would have preferred. It’s heartening to see that Google jumping in before the ballooning binary size became a serious issue. What is your thought on Chrome? Has it become too bloated? Don’t forget to let us know.

Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 Released for Java, Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, Windows 7 and Meego

Is today a big day, or what! Amazon’s Android App Store will be released today. The much-delayed Firefox 4 is also slated to officially arrive soon. And now, Opera Software has made what is possibly the biggest product launch in its history. Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 have been released for as many as six different platforms. Here’s a quick summary of the new stuff from the Norwegian browser vendor:

  • Opera Mini 6 for Java
  • Opera Mini 6 for Android
  • Opera Mini 6 for Symbian
  • Opera Mini 6 for legacy Symbian (S60 v2)
  • Opera Mini 6 for Blackberry
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Android
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Symbian
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Windows 7 (tablets and touch-screen devices)
  • Opera Mobile 11 for Meego

While Opera might be the little guy in the desktop segment, it is the king of mobile browsers. It already has more than 100 million users worldwide, and the number just keeps on increasing. Opera Mobile is Opera Software’s full-fledged mobile browser, which uses the same rendering engine (Presto) as Opera for desktop, and brings a desktop-like browsing experience to mobile devices. Opera Mini was originally developed for budget phones, which didn’t meet the hardware and software requirements of Opera Mobile. In Opera Mini, the webpage is routed through Opera’s servers, where all the rendering is done, and a static and highly compressed representation of the page is sent to the browser.

Opera-Mobile-11-Android

There are quite a few exciting improvements in both the products. The first thing that will catch your attention is the new skin. The bright shades of red, which have been a part of Opera’s mobile offerings for a long long time, have been replaced by a sleek black gradient.

Opera-Mobile-11-Android-Sharing-Options

Also new is the “Share” option, which enable you to quickly share a link through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The lack of sharing options was one of my major grievances with Opera Mobile 10 for Android, and I am glad that Opera Software has rectified this rather quickly.

Opera-Mobile-11-Windows-7-Tablets

Unsurprisingly, Opera’s mobile offerings are now optimized for high-resolution devices like tablets. This bit was already demoed at SXSW and MWC, and now you can try it yourself. Scrolling, panning, and zooming should be a lot smoother than before, and pinch-to-zoom support is included in all devices that are capable of supporting it.

All versions of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile can be downloaded directly on your mobile phone from m.opera.com.

Get Back Old Facebook Comment Button – Fix Enter to Comment On Facebook

recently rolled out a new change to their user interface where they got rid of the Comment button and allowed users to comment by hitting the Enter key. However, this was a bit annoying to users who did not know about it and innocently hit enter to add a new line to their comment. When they did this, the comment was automatically posted. (Hint: use Shift + Enter to add a new line)

Facebook Comment Button

If you are someone who has been annoyed by this problem, there is a quick and easy fix to get back the old comment button on Facebook through a script.

To get the old comment button back in Facebook, head over to http://www.crypticide.com/alecm/chrome/ and click on the FixSillyFacebook.user.js to install the Greasemonkey script in and (you will need the Greasemonkey add-on). If you are using or Internet Explorer or Safari follow our earlier post on Installing Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, IE and Safari.

P.S. The above script was a modification of another script created by Daniel Wood because it lacked the ability to work on the www subdomain in Facebook.

Download Internet Explorer 9 Final

Microsoft has just made the final release of Internet Explorer 9 available for download. The beta of IE 9 has been downloaded over 40 million times already. The final version was supposed to launch on March 14, at 9 am PM PST, and it has.

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer has been one of the most abused browsers of all time, especially IE 6. With IE 9, Microsoft has promised to make good with web developers and has embraced most open web standards.

Internet Explorer 8 was quite well received, and even though I use Opera as my primary browser, I still use IE 8 for sites which just don’t work with Opera. I will now be upgrading that with Internet Explorer 9.

To download Internet Explorer 9, just go to this link – Internet Explorer 9 Download

Select the version of IE9 (32-bit or 64-bit) and click on Download Now.

IE 9 offers a much better browsing experience than previous versions, and is also much faster. Here’s a list of the new features IE 9 brings to the table.

Update: Here are some direct download links (Courtesy Win Rumors)