12. December 2013

It’s been a while since I wrote something about the new versions of the Opera Browser – mainly because I have been waiting for something positive to come up. The last article I wrote is from July 13 and since then, well… nothing much really happened. The version numbers have increased from 15 to 18 and there are even beta and developer versions with the numbers 19 and 20, but while it’s certainly a fast browser, it still lacks practically all of the features that made the old versions up to 12 so great. The next-generation Opera is essentially still a Chrome clone with even less features than Google’s browser. I’m not only beginning to lose faith on Opera, I’ve actually lost it completely during the last few months.

The biggest problem is that the brower still has no properly functioning bookmark system, even after more than half a year of development. This is the feature that has been requested by many people from the start, but a speed-dial with huge buttons and a “stash” of favourite pages is simply unacceptable as a replacement, especially compared to the well-working bookmarks of Opera 12. There is also no integration of Opera’s own bookmark cloud service Opera Link save for direct web access. That’s really a tragedy, considering where Opera has come from, and it is completely puzzling that the promise of reintroducing “certain features” has not been even remotely fulfilled. The bookmarks bar has actually made a comeback in the latest development version, but real bookmarks are still missing – and may be for a long time, possibly forever.

For this reason, I have actually begun to use Google Chrome as my main browser for some time now – something which I would never have considered before. I started to migrate the most important bookmarks to Chrome and even used the device synchronization feature to keep the bookmarks up to date not only on all PCs and Laptops, but also on my Android tablet, where I also use the mobile version of Chrome now. The main reason for using Chrome on the desktop is, however, its speed: the old Opera 12 is almost incapable of rendering Google+ now and no other browser can display the social network as fast as Chrome. And it’s not only this website, but also, for instance, the WordPress backend, which I use extensively all the time.

The new Android version of Opera actually has exactly the same problem and doesn’t seem to be much in development anymore – apparently a browser without bookmarks is considered as complete on mobile devices and the latest update from December completely wrecked the user interface with spectacularly ugly tabs on the top of the screen. Instead the company has been busy making a browser for iOS devices called Coast, which almost completely lacks an user interface and is only controlled through gestures. This may be an interesting approach, but it only shows that Opera seems to have completely abandoned its core market, the desktop browser.

The bottom line is that Opera as a company has gone from being the most innovative browser developer to almost nothing in less than a year. I don’t give the desktop version of their browser much of a chance now – switching to Chrome or another browser of your choice and keeping Opera 12 as a backup might be the only solution for now.

Kategorie: Software, WWW
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