Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari are fighting with great fanfare and technology media is busy with their benchmark results, Opera seems to be slightly forgotten. Yet, not only the browser is far from dead, it is still regularly innovating, the version 11 is now available for public beta which may re-ignite the long lost interest on the Big Red O.
Opera 11 offers many new features, some of which are innovative and others are simply an attempt to imitate the competitors. The public beta offers an original solution to the problem of multiple tabs. Put simply, what will you do if you have so many tabs open and it becomes so difficult to navigate through them? Opera’s response: allows users to make tab groups. The concept is very simple, just select a tab and it drags on another. This feature can only be done manually and it can’t be used to create logical groups. The advantage of such an organization is that the users can create their own tab sets for better navigation.
Another novelty is the address field which now displays more clearly the information on a site, especially those related to security.
Another important addition is extensions management. Users can look into the catalog and install modules capable of performing a specific mission. Thus we can easily find and install useful extensions such as, translator or an ad blocker. A graphical element is added to allow users learn mouse gestures more easily.
Other useful innovations are:
- A new version of the layout engine, Presto, which supports HTML5
- Automatic updates of applications and extensions
- The search field now supports Google suggestions
- An option to enable advanced plug-ins exceptions. For example, if Flash is disabled, you can reactivate it for a specific element on a site, like a video on YouTube. This avoid the need of repeatedly turn the option on and off.
- Finally, Opera 11 features a new installer for Windows. Extensively reworked, it is both much faster and much richer in functionality. It offers a portable installer for USB drives and the ability to choose an installation for all users or only the current user.
Despite all these new features, the new browser version is roughly 30% faster compared to Opera 10.6.3. Opera 11 can be downloaded from its official site and available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.