Friday, July 3, 2009

Opera innovations

When I read about Opera's "Reinvent the Web" campaign on Techcrunch, I was a bit excited and a bit cynical about it's legitimacy. Similar tall claims have been made earlier but with little success. Initially, I thought it was a mere marketing gimmick but, Opera did excite me on June 16, 2009. Some of the innovative features by Opera are:

1. Appearance: The Opera browser has a very polished look. It is very much a Windows 7 product. Firefox looks too XPed, IE never excited me and I have never used an Apple.

2. Mouse Gestures: One of the first things I tried to experiment was mouse gestures. Hold your right mouse in the tab and flick it to left, it performs the "Back" functionality of the browser.

3. Speed Dial: This is such a handy feature which has been there on mobile phones for years, but nobody thought of incorporating it in the browser.

4. Closed tabs: If you close any of your tabs accidentally, Opera lets you open them instantly. More important is the accessibility of this button. It is right there where I would want it to be.

5. Unite: This is something which has a potential to change the way the web works. It allows you to share files from your system rather than some third party service. By giving the user, control of his information, Opera makes the user, the master of his information. But I feel it is little too early for something like this to become an instant hit. Poor Internet speeds, limited hardware resources would be some key limitations for Unite's success. Nevertheless the idea deserves credit.

6. Widgets: These are web applications which run in the browser but without showing the browser controls. They are very easy to use and also very easy to build using client side programming languages. I have been playing around with them and will write more about how to create your own widgets, but that is later.

7. Anti Cloud: Yes Opera is anti-cloud. The world has been focusing on centralizing services across the Internet for quite some time now. With a few big names in the fray, the race has heated up. But, Opera has different plans. By providing an individual to host his own web server inside a browser, Opera has de-centralized information.