Opera has always been known for its innovation. Unfortunately, in spite of consistently delivering a fast, secure, and stable browser, Opera has always been the little guy in the browser wars. As far as desktop browsers are concerned, Opera is currently handsomely behind Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari in terms of market share. However, things are looking up for Opera.
Recently, it crossed 50 million active users, and now Opera 11 has been downloaded more than 6.7 million times within first twenty four hours of its release. This is a significant improvement over the 1.7 million downloads per day in the first week for Opera 10.10, and a huge improvement over the 1 million downloads in four days after the release of Opera 8.
According to a survey conducted on new users, 53% were coming from Firefox, while 43% were coming from Internet Explorer.
Thanks to the internet you will at-least find a few options for something you want to do, some of them might be free, some not. Here is a list of alternatives you could use for bookmarking in the cloud.
Google Chrome Sync – If you use Google Chrome, it has a handy feature which allows you to sync your bookmarks in the cloud. You could make use of it and have your bookmarks available on any PC running Google Chrome. If you don’t have Google Chrome handy, you will find all those bookmarks in Google Docs. Alternatively you could also use Google Bookmarks.
Opera Link – Another browser based backup service, but this time for Opera. I guess I wouldn’t even have to tell Opera users about this. Use this service to backup and sync your bookmarks across Opera.
Diigo – Diigo is another good service which provides with an easy way to bookmark web pages on the web. It also has some cool apps which allow you to read those bookmarks on a device like iPhone and read the webpages while you are offline. Diigo also offers a Chrome App called "Read Later Fast" which allows you to store webpages in Google Chrome and read them later.
Xmarks – Many of you might be aware of Xmarks which was recently acquired by LastPass. This service has been very popular and is used by thousands of people. Xmarks also provides users a way to discover new webpages using information stored by other users, something similar to what Delicious provided users with.
I find that these three alternatives should be able to get you over your Delicious hangover, however, if you are looking for more you can always try out one of other options available below.
After a remarkably short release candidate period, Opera Software has released Opera 11, just in time for Christmas. With Opera 11, the venerable Norwegian browser maker is hoping to leapfrog its competition. Even as Mozilla has been struggling to get Firefox 4 out of the door, Opera 11 has gone from alpha to final release within just 2 months. Opera’s Haavard Moen claims that an improved development process over the past year or so has allowed developers to work on more things simultaneously without compromising stability of the main branch.
Opera 11 is a big release for Opera Software. It’s a significant step-up from the Opera 10.6 trunk and adds some meaty features to the already feature packed browser. Some of the highlights of this release are:
Tab Stacking: Tab clutter is a problem many web-addicts have to deal with. Once you have a couple of dozen or more tabs, the utility of tabbed browsing diminishes greatly as individual tabs become practically indistinguishable. Opera is trying to solve this issue through Tab Stacking. Tab Stacking makes it possible to group tabs by simply dragging and dropping tabs on top of each other. Opera also toyed around with the idea of enabling tab stacking in one of the snapshots. However, it was dropped in subsequent builds due to numerous inconsistencies and annoyances present in the initial implementation. Opera clearly believes that tabbed stacking is the future of browsing, and has promised to refine it further in future releases.
Visual Mouse Gestures: Opera is one of the few browsers to ship with inbuilt support for mouse gestures. Mouse gestures is the killer feature you never knew you needed. It allows you to perform actions like open links in new tab, reload, stop and close tabs with a flick of your mouse. Once you get the hang of it, you will find it hard to live without it. However, most users never discover this feature, as the only way to learn about gestures is to study the documentation or go through the Mouse gestures configuration. Opera 11 tries to fix this by introducing a slick user interface that appears on right-clicking on any portion of the page. This mouse gestures interface guides you through the basic gestures.
Safer and Cleaner Address Bar: Opera has tweaked the address bar to make it easier to spot phishing websites. The primary domain name is highlighted while protocols and parameters are hidden by default. It also prominently displays security information about the website you are browsing.
On-demand Plugin Loading: Now, it is possible to have Opera load plugins like Flash and Silverlight only when required. This actually acts as a very nifty flashblock, as flash videos are blocked by default, and can be loaded individually.
Other Changes include
New app-tab mode that shrinks and shifts pinned tabs to the left.
Inbuilt support for Google Suggest.
Improved rendering engine (presto).
New Mail panel.
New Bookmarks bar.
Support for WebSockets (disabled due to security concerns).
You can download Opera 11 for Windows, UNIX and Mac from www.opera.com.
A couple of months back, Opera Software had disclosed that it has more than 140 million users. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the creative browser maker from Norway is now celebrating 150 million users. A majority of the users are from Opera Mini, which offers a fully functional tabbed browsing experience on low-end handsets and feature phones. Opera for Desktop is the other significant contributor with a little over fifty million users. Opera is available on a wide range of devices including the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, several connected televisions, and of course on smartphones (Opera Mini and Opera Mobile).
About a week back, we had lauded Opera for their creative marketing efforts. In the recent past they have managed to impress Reddit (twice!), besides creating a rather popular humorous parody. Keeping up their impressive track record, Opera Software is announcing this milestone by leaking its co-founder’s inbox. Head over to opera.com/portal/jvt/ to get a sneak peek at Jon von Tetzchner’s faux inbox. It’s full of humorous and interesting fake conversations involving Tetzchner. Besides easter eggs for Opera community members, it also contains a hat-tip to Reddit.
LastPass is one extension I have been waiting for ever since Opera published its API. I had earlier mentioned that LastPass has been working with Opera software to release an extension as soon as possible. However, one thing holding them back was the lack of support for HTTPS in Opera’s extensions. Opera Software fixed this in Opera 11 Beta (actually they did it in an earlier snapshot), which was released just yesterday, and now LastPass is already here.
The LastPass Button
If you are wondering why I am gushing about LastPass, check out our earlierarticles on this nifty little tool. LastPass is a free (freemium to be accurate) cloud based service that can generate strong passwords, remember your passwords, and automatically fill forms and works seamlessly across multiple browsers, operating systems and devices. While Opera’s Wand can remember passwords, none of the other features offered by LastPass are available. Better still, you can even import and export information from other similar third party tools like RoboForm, 1Password, KeePass, Password Safe, MyPasswordSafe, Sxipper, TurboPasswords, and Passpack
Create LastPass Form Profiles
LastPass for Opera works through a button in the address bar, much like its Chrome counterpart. It automatically jumps into action as soon as it detects a form and offers to remember and fill-in information. You can also tick the “Auto-login” option to automatically enter and submit login information.
Barely a day after Opera 11 Beta was released, Opera Software has launched Opera Mobile 10.1 final for Symbian (Symbian^3, and Symbian S60 3rd and 5th editions). “Powerful smartphones deserve an equally powerful browser,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “Opera Mobile 10.1 today brings the best mobile browsing experience to the world’s most popular smartphone platform.”
Also new in Opera 10.1 is Geolocation, which enables web applications like Maps to directly grab your current location (obviously, with your permission).
Opera Mobile 10.1 retains all the usual goodies we have come to love from Opera, including powerful tabbed browsing, search bar, history, visual speed dial, find in page, bookmarks, online sync, password manager and Opera Turbo. You can download it from opera.com/mobile or by browsing to m.opera.com from your mobile browser.
Opera Software is no stranger to theatrics. Back when Opera 8 was released, Jon S. von Tetzchner, then CEO of Opera, attempted a cross-Atlantic swim to celebrate 1 million downloads. However, when it comes to going viral, Firefox always managed one up Opera.
A lot has changed since then. Opera now has more than 140 million users, and also seems to be getting really good at leveraging social media. Earlier in the year, Opera had us in splits with the Odd and Even browser speed test parody. However, as we have seen on numerous occasions, the best of the best viral stuff are impromptu creations with a touch of genius. That’s what happened yesterday.
Yesterday, a Redditor, who described himself as a “person with zero creative talent”, offered to draw anything requested by the community in MS Paint. An Opera employee, who also appears to be an avid Redditor, quickly took the opportunity to request a picture of Tetzchner riding a narwhal over a double rainbow. As an added incentive, he offered to put up the result on the home page of Opera. Here’s what the fellow Redditor came up with.
Opera Software obviously has quite a few avid Redditors. In fact, they have been campaigning heavily on Reddit for the past few weeks. Besides purchasing ad impressions, they also did an IamA (I am a), which was a roaring success. Opera Software was widely applauded for “doing it right” and clocked in more than 35,000 downloads from their Reddit campaign. They obviously got a few more yesterday. Well done!
Opera is one of the pioneers of tabbed browsing. It might not have been the first tabbed browser, but many of the features we see in current tabbed browsers were first seen in Opera. With every major new version, Opera has continued to enhance its already refined tabbed browsing interface. They introduced “Trash Can” (recycle bin for closed tabs) in version 8, tab thumbnails in version 9, and visual tabs in version 10. Opera 11 upholds this tradition with the introduction of “Tab stacking”.
Opera: Pioneer of Tabbed Browsing
Opera 11 Beta has just been released. Most of the new features like visual mouse gestures, smarter address bar and improved mail panel, were previewed in the recent snapshot builds. Check out our earlier coverage for a low-down on these features.
Opera 11: Visual Mouse Gestures
Opera 11: Enhanced Address Bar
The surprise new feature is the aforementioned tab stacking. Tab stacking allows you to group tabs by simply dragging and dropping them on top of each other. Users can look into the contents of a group by either hovering the mouse over a group (which triggers a thumbnail preview of all the tabs in the group), or by clicking the tiny arrow next to each group’s button. By the way, don’t yet try to directly stack two tabs residing in different windows. I tried it thrice, and Opera crashed right away on each occasion.
Opera 11: Tab Stacking
“Tabs are the most popular feature in browsers today,” said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. “Because so many of us wrestle with tens or even hundreds of open tabs, we needed a way to simplify tab management. Just like stacking papers for future reference, stacking your tabs is an intuitive way to organize and collect your open Web pages.”
Opera 11: Tab Stacking (Thumbnail Preview)
Opera 11: Tab Stacking (Expanded)
Opera 11 Beta introduces further refinements to Opera extensions, which were introduced in Opera 11 Alpha. Currently, Opera has 131 extensions, which have been downloaded over 500,000 times, with ten to twenty extensions being submitted for approval every day. If you are an Opera 11 user, check out some of our favorite extensions over here.
Earlier in the day, I took a look at the State of Mozilla report, which highlighted impressive all around gains for the open source browser maker. Opera Software, one of the smaller competitors of Mozilla, also recently published its own financial report.
According to the third quarter (2010) report, Opera Software posted record revenues of 178.3 MNOK (million Norwegian krone), which is a 32% year on year growth. A major driving factor was partnerships with device manufacturers and telecom providers. Among others, Opera has partnerships telecom service providers like Telenor, Vodafone, AT&T, Sprint, MTC (MTS) and Virgin, and mobile phone manufacturers like HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Opera is also a player in the connected TV market, and licenses its technology to Phillips, Toshiba, Sharp, Thomson, Realtek and others.
Desktop revenue increased by 41%, whereas revenue from internet devices increased by 32%. Opera currently has more than 140 million users, with a vast majority of them being on Opera Mini. Unfortunately for Opera, although its revenue from desktop products increased, the number of users witnessed decrease in consecutive quarters. Opera Software is blaming this on seasonalvariations, which sounds rather convenient. Seasonal fluctuations are generally small enough to be compensated by gaining a few million users. If they are significant to have a visible impact on Opera’s userbase, then that is because Opera has actually failed to reach out to a significant number of new users. Unless maintaining status quo is considered to be success at Opera, there is no hiding the fact that Opera is still failing to make its presence felt in the desktop segment. It’s also rather convenient that Opera is bringing up seasonal fluctuations now. No one mentioned it, when they were gaining users.
Of late, Opera Software has been making all the right moves with its desktop offering. In fact, Opera 11 alpha was downloaded 370,000 times in the first two days. I really hope that Opera 11 will help them in gaining more users. However, before that, they should be prepared to at least acknowledge exactly where they stand.
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.