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Opera 11 Opera 11

Firefox Was Yesterday and Chrome is Now. Is Opera Tomorrow?

Opera 11

Internet Explorer is a distant memory for anyone who knows what the word “browser” means. Firefox is hanging on by a thread amongst the tech savvy mostly due to its assortment of addons and plugins, but Chrome is climbing fast and will likely eclipse it on most fronts. Is there any room left for Opera?

Many who have tried Opera 11 would say, “Yes”. It may just be that good.

What’s New?

Opera New Features

There are several new features added to the newest version. Added safety, integration with search and mail, and visual mouse gestures are nice additions, but it’s in the other two that we see a potential for Opera to distinguish itself.

Extensions (Finally)

Extensions helped make Firefox a trendsetter, may save Internet Explorer 9, and have helped Chrome pull from both of their market shares. Now that Opera enters the extension game, it may be enough to get people to try it.

The key will be developers. Currently, the extensions list is small with 202 available and 10-20 being added every day. Variations of popular Firefox and Chrome extensions such as NoAds (like AdBlock+), SnapLinks, and BugMeNot were amongst the first. If the pace stays high and some strong extensions unique to Opera can be added, this may be able to break through the roadblock that has kept many from giving it a shot.

Stackable Tabs

Opera Stackable Tabs

The other big change plays on Opera’s reputation for tab management. Tab stacking allows heavy tab users to organize their tabs into groups rather than extending them across as other browsers do. For many, this will be more of a gimmick than something useful but those who open dozens of tabs at a time will find it useful (and there are more of us out there than you’d think).

Can Opera Really Break Through?

The success of the company has rested in their mobile browser for a while now. Many have written off the web browser as an also-ran, particular when the new kid on the block with the 4-color logo blew passed them in market share,  but Opera is not going out without a fight.

If extensions gain exposure and increase in numbers, it’s possible that those loyal to the browser (and those who use it are VERY loyal) can advocate its use and continued expansion. They are, however, stuck in a catch-22.

The browser’s reputation is one of being lean and nimble, but Chrome has eclipsed it in that regard by most accounts. To succeed, they have to bulk up quite a bit and become a serious browser that can appeal to the tech savvy while maintaining the simplicity that will allow it to pull from the geriatric Internet Explorer crowd as they learn that there are options (in other words, as they learn the meaning of the word “browser”).

Another key to their success is out of their hands. Chrome is building up steam and is already the browser of choice for those leaving Firefox. Chrome will need to stumble at some point in the near future and Opera must be there to capitalize. Whether it’s a security issue (which Chrome seems to hold well), a privacy concern (everyone wants Google to be evil), or something else, it is imperative that Opera is able to scream loud and proud if and when that time comes.

Otherwise, it may be time to focus 100% on mobile and abandon web browsing altogether.

  1. Great job OPREA, I switched Two Years Ago and havent looked back since.
    Tried Chrome, Its a resource Hog and constantly tries to do its own thing. Im on a Mac and get constant alerts from Little Snitch. Hang in there OPERA and your day
    is fast approaching. Its so cool. Take the time to learn all its features and I bet you wont turn Back.

  2. “Firefox is hanging on by a thread”

    Firefox has the second largest number of users worldwide, with 30% of the market.

  3. I don’t really know is opera will be dominating browser market place or not, they are one of the oldest player in this market, they know how to survive

  4. Have used Chrome since the start of the year, it is just a lot lighter browser than Firefox, good for when you’re jumping around in Photoshop, various editing programs etc.

    Think Firefox hanging on by a thread is a slight exaggeration though, it’s still extremely useful, Firebug is still better than Chrome’s similar extensions in my eye.

    IE only gets used when cross browser compatibility tests are made, like it should only ever get used!

  5. I am using opera from last 5 years and i know it is the best browser but i face only 2 problem one is while opening the google documents and less feature for webdeveloper like firefox have.

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