Opera introduces new workspaces feature in Opera 67

Opera Software introduced a new feature, called Workspaces, in the latest developer version of the Opera web browser for desktop operating systems. Opera 67 Developer comes with built-in support for Workspaces, a feature that resembles virtual desktops and also Firefox’s container feature to a degree.

The main idea behind Workspaces is to separate websites and web apps into different groups. Opera users could use a workspace for work-related activity, one for social media, and another for shopping or entertainment. Unlike containers in Firefox, Workspaces do not separate the browsing data but may improve tab management in the web browser.

Opera Software says the feature is experimental at this point in time; features may change and while the company seems inclined to improve Workspaces in future versions of the browser, there is no guarantee at this point.

Opera 67 displays two workspaces by default in the sidebar that users may switch between easily. The two work areas display tabs opened in them only and the switching happens near instantly.

opera 67 workspaces

The first experimental version of the feature lacks several customization options and interactivity options. It is not possible to create more workspaces or change their icons in this version. Opera Software plans to introduce the functionality in future versions. Another feature that is missing is the ability to push tabs from one workspace to another; it is however possible to use the built-in search, using Ctrl-Space, to find tabs open in the web browser. Keyboard shortcuts are not support either at this point in time.

Opera users who don’t want to use the functionality may disable it with a right-click on the web browser’s sidebar and the deselection of the two workspaces placed there. Open tabs are retained in the workspaces if Opera is configured to restore the previous browsing session and Exit is selected from the Opera menu.

Closing words

The main benefit of the browser’s Workspaces feature is better manageability of open tabs in the browser. Opera users may use it to separate their activity visually and it may also be useful to hide activity in places in which someone might catch a glimpse of the screen.

Workspaces is no Containers feature on the other hand and it does not appear that Opera Software plans to evolve it into one.

Now You: What is your first impression of the Workspaces feature in Opera 67 Dev? (via Deskmodder)

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Opera 55 Stable for Android is out: here is what is new

Opera Software released a new stable version of the web browser on December 5, 2019. The new Opera 55 web browser for Android devices includes a new Night Mode and improved keyboard dimming functionality.

The new version of the mobile web browser should be offered to Android users soon via Play Store updates. It may also be downloaded from Google Play (and other sources) manually.

The major new feature of Opera 55 for Android is the browser’s redesigned Night Mode. It is disabled by default but may be activated with a tap on the Opera icon and the toggling of Night Mode in the menu.

opera 55 night mode

You may customize Night Mode functionality in the browser’s settings. Just tap on Night Mode there to open the configuration page. There you find the following options in Opera 55:

  • Change the color temperature to alter blue light emission.
  • Change the dimming.
  • Toggle the use of the dark theme.
  • Enable dark web pages. The feature enables a dark theme for sites that don’t support dark themes by default.
  • Enable the new dim keyboard feature; this requires an additional permission as the browser uses an overlay to dim the keyboard on the device.
  • Schedule Night Mode so that it is enabled during a specific period, e.g. from sunset to sunrise or custom period.

With Night Mode enabled, Opera for Android will display webpages that are opened in the mobile browser accordingly. It makes sense to use Night Mode together with Dark Mode on the deice and the extra dark web page and dim keyboard modes.

All taken together paint the entire screen in darker colors that may make the whole experience more enjoyable in the morning and at night, and may also improve sleep.

Opera Software calls it Super Dark Mode when all Night Mode features are enabled. The browser takes care of the UI, webpages, and keyboard that may be displayed when it is active.

Now You: do you prefer regular or dark modes?

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Opera's Start Page loading slowly? Do this to speed it up!

Like most web browsers, the Opera web browser comes with a default New Tab Page / Start Page that displays a number of elements to users when opened. Opera users find a search bar on the page as well as links to certain websites and services.

Opera browser users may enable or disable elements on the page; they may add news to the page or hide the bookmarks bar that is displayed. The linked websites may also be replaced with other properties.

There may be a visual delay before the page opens in Opera regardless of the method that you use to open it. A tap on Ctrl-T opens a new tab in the browser but it is also possible to click on the plus icon in the browser’s tab bar to do the same.

Opera Software has been working on an improvement that speeds up the loading of the page in the web browser. Recent versions of Opera, including the latest Stable versions, support it already.

The feature, called Shared Start Page, is not enabled by default in the browser at the time of writing. Opera users may enable it in the browser to speed up the loading. The feature is available for all desktop versions of the Opera web browser.

Improves loading time of a new start page by sharing single webcontents. – Mac, Windows, Linux

Note: experimental flags may be removed at any time or integrated natively in the browser.

opera speed up start page

Here is what you need to do to enable the Shared Start Page feature in the Opera web browser:

  1. Load opera://flags in the browser’s address bar. The page that opens lists all available experiments.
  2. Search for Shared Start Page using the search form at the top.
  3. Set the status of the Shared Start Page experiment to enabled.
  4. Restart the Opera web browser.

When you open a New Tab Page in Opera after the operation you may notice that the page opens much quicker than before. I tested this on Opera Stable running on a Surface Go device and the loading improvement was noticeable. It seems likely that Opera Software will integrate the improvement natively in the browser at one point in time; for now, it is necessary to enable the flag to benefit from it.

Now You: how is the Start Page / New Tab page opening performance of your favorite browser? (via Ask VG)

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Opera 65 Final is out: here is what is new

Opera Software released a new version of the company’s Opera web browser, Opera 65.0 Stable, to the public on November 14, 2019.  The new version of the desktop version of Opera comes with content blocking improvements, a redesigned address bar, and direct access to separate bookmarks and history sections from the sidebar.

Opera Software released Opera 64.0 featuring a new theme and Bitcoin support last month.

Opera 65.0

Opera 65.0 is already available for download on the official Opera website. Existing users may get the new version automatically thanks to the web browser’s built-in updating functionality. Since it is not real-time, users may select Opera Menu > Update & Recovery to run a manual check for updates to download and install Opera 65.0 on the device.

opera 65.0 stable

Opera 65.0 comes with several improvements. Most notable, probably, is the redesigned address bar that completes the browser’s design updates that started with the release of Opera Reborn 3 in April 2019.

The active site is grayed out when users of the browser start to type in the address bar; this puts the focus on the input and values that Opera returns based on the input of the user.

Those who used previous versions of Opera may notice that Opera 65.0 displays website titles first and then hyperlinks, and that it is easier to distinguish between suggestions picked from the browsing history, bookmarks, speed dial elements, and search.

opera 65 redesigned address bar

Websites displayed in the address bar are displayed with a favicon in the new version which improves recognition further.

Bookmarks and history are now accessible as separate elements in the sidebar of the browser. A click on history or bookmarks displays the interface. Opera Software hopes that this improves access and usability of the features in the browser.

Bookmarks open in an overlay when activated from the sidebar while the history is opened in a tab which may need to be addressed to improve the user experience.

Another change in Opera 65.0 brings an option to display the blocked trackers in the interface; this is only enabled when the native ad-blocker is enabled. A click on the content blocking icon displays controls to allow or block ads and/or trackers on the active website. If trackers are blocked, all blocked trackers may be displayed in Opera 65.0 with a click on “list of blocked trackers” in the interface.

You can check out the full changelog on the Opera website as well. The browser has been updated to Chromium 78.0.3904.87 and Opera Software has applied numerous fixes for issues in the new releases as well.

Now You: Have you tried the Opera web browser recently?

Opera

For Windows

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Opera 54 for Android: new theme, Bitcoin support

Opera Software released a new version of the company’s main web browser for Google’s Android operating system on October 22, 2019. The new Opera 54 web browser features a new theme and comes with support for Bitcoin and TRON virtual currencies among other new features.

The update is already pushed via Google Play at the time of writing. Opera users may check the Apps and Games section on Google Play to force the update to take place immediately.

The new version loads a theme selection interface on first launch that users of the browser may use to pick from one of the included themes.

opera 54 android theme

A tap on a theme enables it right away, a tap on more options opens the mobile browser’s full appearance options with additional preferences. There users find five color options for light and dark modes; the new version includes a setting to apply the system wide mode — dark mode or light mode — automatically.

The option is enabled by default but users may switch to light or dark mode manually in the Appearance settings.

Tip: if you want the address bar to be displayed at all times, switch the “toolbars” preference from “only hide address bar when scrolling” to “never hide” under Appearance.

Opera Software states that the new UI has a flat design with no extra layers or shadows to make it “visually cleaner”. Company engineers reduced animation times and simplified several other things to make the browser “more quickly” in the process.

The main design goal was to remove unnecessary distractions from the UI so that things can be done faster.

Opera Software introduced a crypto wallet in 2018 in Opera for Android. It allowed users of the browser to store Ethereum using the wallet. The new Opera 54 for Android adds support for Bitcoin to the wallet; arguably the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Opera for Android users may now use the wallet to trade Bitcoin.

As far as other features are concerned, there are a few: Opera switched the default button for notification requests from allow to deny to make sure that users don’t allow notifications by accident anymore. The new version of the browser supports the Web Authentication standard next to that as well.

Closing Words

While Opera Software teases the new design and theme options as the main feature of Opera 54, it is Bitcoin support in my opinion that is most noteworthy as it extends cryptocurrency support.

Now You: Which mobile browser do you use?

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Opera Software tests Cloudflare DNS over HTTPS in Opera 65

Opera Software released a new beta version of the company’s Opera web browser on October 17, 2019 to the public. Opera 65 Beta includes support for DNS over HTTPS (DoH), a privacy and security feature that encrypts DNS traffic to prevent spying and common attacks such as spoofing or pharming.

Opera 65 Beta is already available. Existing Beta installation should receive the new version automatically thanks to the integrated automatic updating system. Opera Beta downloads are also linked on the official blog post that announced the new release.

Opera browser is based on Chromium but the company decided to select Cloudflare as its partner for the test. Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, entered an agreement with Cloudflare as well to power the DNS over HTTPS functionality of the Firefox browser.

Google on the other hand makes available several provides in the DNS over HTTPS test in the company’s Chrome browser.

opera 65 dns over https

All DNS queries will run through Cloudflare servers when the feature is enabled in the Opera web browser. Requests that Cloudflare cannot handle are still handled by the local DNS server; this is mainly done to allow the browser to connect to local resources, e.g. those behind firewalls or on internal networks (which Cloudflare cannot resolve).

The DNS over HTTPS feature is not enabled by default in Opera 65.

Opera users need to do the following to enable it:

  1. Load opera://flags/#opera-doh in the browser’s address bar. This loads the right experimental flag on the internal opera://flags page directly. You can also load opera://flags and search for Secure DNS to find it.
  2. Set the Secure DNS (DNS over HTTPS) flag to Enabled.
  3. Restart the Opera web browser.

The feature is supported by all desktop versions of the Opera web browser. Opera is available for Windows, Mac and Linux desktop systems.

The flag’s description:

Secure DNS (DNS over HTTPS)
Use secure DNS (DNS over HTTPS; DoH) instead of local DNS. This replaces your default DNS with Cloudflare’s public 1.1.1.1 server for public server name lookups. – Mac, Windows, Linux

The feature is experimental at this point in time. While it worked fine when I tested it for a short period of time, it is certainly possible that issues may be experienced. Uses may want to turn off the feature if that is the case to see if that resolves the issues that they experience.

Opera Software, unlike Mozilla, has not published any information regarding privacy. It is unclear if the company has brokered a deal with Cloudflare that is similar to Mozilla’s to limit data exposure, use and retention when the service is enabled.

Now You: What is your take on DNS over HTTPS?

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Opera 64 launches with built-in tracker blocker

Opera Software released Opera 64 Stable to the public this week; the new browser features several improvements including a new tracker blocking feature.

The company integrated native ad-blocking functionality in Opera 37 which it released in 2016. The new tracker blocking functionality extends the functionality; it works similarly to the tracker protection of the Firefox web browser but relies on the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection list.

Opera 64 should be offered to existing users automatically but a manual check may speed up the upgrade. Just select Opera Menu > Update & Recovery to run a manual check for updates. The new version should be picked up and installed automatically.

Opera 64: tracker blocking

privacy protection

The tracker blocking functionality is not enabled by default in Opera 64. Here is what you need to do to enable and configure it:

  1. Load opera://settings/ in the browser’s address bar or select Opera Menu > Settings.
  2. Privacy Protection should be the first group of preferences on the page that opens. Locate Block trackers and enable the feature with a click.

Opera will block trackers from that moment on. Opera Software suggests that it may speed up the loading of pages by up to 20% when enabled in the default configuration. If the built-in adblocker is used as well, page loading speed may improve by up to 76% according to the company.

Two configuration options are provided:

  • Manage exceptions allows you to add sites to the list of exceptions. This may be necessary if a site does not work correctly anymore after enabling the functionality.
  • Manage lists displays all available lists and an option to add custom lists. You need to specify the URL of a custom list to integrate it in the browser.

A privacy protection icon is displayed in the browser’s address bar when you activate tracking functionality. A click displays the number of ads and trackers blocked, and options to turn of ad blocking or tracker blocking on the site.

Other changes

snapshot tool

Opera 64 features a number of other changes. The browsing engine was updated to Chromium 77.0.3865.90. Opera’s built-in screenshot tool has been improved as well in the new version. You can activate it with the keyboard shortcut Shift-Ctrl-2 or by clicking on the photo icon in the browser’s address bar.

You may use it to capture the entire page or part of it by drawing a rectangle around the part that you want to save as an image. Options to save the selection as a PDF file and to open it in the built-in editor are provided.

The editor comes with a new option to add text using three different fonts and improvements to the blurring and drawing tool. The drawing tool suggests to smooth shapes when it detects that you want to mark something on a cropped image. There is also a new highlight option to highlight certain elements.

Check out the entire changelog here for a full list of changes.

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Opera Mini update introduces offline file sharing support

Opera Software released an Opera Mini web browser update today that adds support for offline file sharing to the browser.

The main idea behind the new feature is to let users pair devices to send files even when there is no Internet connection. Opera hopes that the new built-in method will be used by users of Opera Mini in favor of traditional file sharing and uploading services or protocols such as email or cloud storage.

One of the main advantages is the offline nature of the feature as the sending and receiving of files does not consume any Internet bandwidth.

Opera Software picked Wi-Fi and not Bluetooth for the feature. One of the main reasons for choosing Wi-Fi was that it offers greater transfer speeds when compared to Bluetooth.

Opera Mini creates a secure private network connection between devices via a direct Wi-Fi connection according to Opera Software.

opera mini offline file share

The first time a user is about to share a file permissions to access storage need to be granted to Opera Mini.

The File Sharing interface, which users may access with a tap on Menu > File Sharing displays a list of files. Files are sorted into the tabs Recent, Music, Video, Applications, Images, Archives, Documents, PDF and Other.

Each file is listed with its name and site; a short tap displays options to open it on the system which is great for verification purposes. A long-tap on a file or files on the other hand adds them to the send queue. You can add multiple files to the queue and even switch between different file groups without losing the queue.

Opera Mini’s File Sharing feature does not provide access to a system-wide file browser; only common file formats and storage locations are supported by the extension, and there is no search to find a file quickly. While that should cover many use cases, advanced users might prefer more control over the feature and most users might like search functionality baked into the file sharing tool.

Once you have made the selection you may tap on the send button to start the process. Opera Mini requests access to the location when you do which you need to allow as well.

The browser displays a QR afterward that the recipient need to scan using Opera Mini. A tap on Receive opens a permission request to use the Camera. The QR code may be scanned using the camera afterward.  The files are transferred to the recipient’s device afterwards.

Opera Software published a promo video to demonstrate the offline file sharing capabilities of Opera Mini:

Closing Words

The file sharing functionality worked fine during first tests; connections worked and the speed was quite fast for mobile to mobile transfers. I still have to investigate the functionality more to better understand how Opera Mini handles cases such as the receiving device running out of storage space.

The selection menu on the sender’s device works well and may speed things up as it separates files based on type. It lacks search functionality on the other hand.

All in all, this is a handy feature for Opera Mini users as it may improve the sharing of files by speeding things up or making the entire process more private.

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Opera GX Browser update introduces network limiter

Opera Software unveiled its Opera GX web browser in June 2019 after it released a teaser a month earlier. The web browser was specifically designed for gamers and the three core features that the initial version focused on were design, gaming news and options to limit the browser’s CPU and RAM usage.

The design of the Opera GX browser set it apart from most desktop browsers; its color scheme, use of sound, and layout resembled how modern computer games look like. The core of the browser is identical to the main Opera desktop browser; it is based on Chromium just like Opera or Chrome are.

Opera Software announced recently that the Opera GX web browser has been downloaded more than one million times already. The latest version of Opera GX, released on September 12, 2019, introduces a number of new features to the application.

Opera GX update: network limiter and more

opera gx

The big new feature in the new Opera GX version is the built-in network limiter. It complements the RAM and CPU limiter that have been a part of the browser since launch.

The feature is disabled by default but may be disabled with a click from the GX Control panel that is displayed by default. Just toggle Network Limiter and select one of the available bandwidth limits to set the threshold.

The default limit is set to 1 Mb/s and presets range from 64 KB/s to 25 MB/s. Options to set a custom limit are not available.

Opera Software lists several scenarios where the network limiter may come in handy, among them limiting downloads to make sure that Internet games work fine, to limit streaming services while playing games, or when the network is slow.

The limit applies to the browser as a whole and that means that Internet services that you run outside of the browser benefit from setting those limits.  The same is true for the RAM and CPU limiter.

The Gaming Corner provides information and news about upcoming and popular games. A release calendar has been added in the new version that highlights upcoming game releases.

opera gx gaming corner

Opera GX may customize the selection by clicking on the preferences icon and selecting the platforms and sections that they are interested in. You could limit the display to PC and Linux games only, or disable deals to see upcoming releases and news only.

Opera GX supported the streaming service Twitch from the very first release. Twitch users may sign-in to their Twitch account from within the browser to manage channels and quickly tune-in to a channel.

The latest update introduces options to hover over a channel to display the cover of the game that is streamed on the channel at the time. Another new option is a filter list for subscribed channels to find channels more quickly, and new preferences to enable or disable sound and search, and to change the layout and hover style.

Closing Words

Opera GX is a specialized browser that puts a strong focus on gaming and design. While it is almost certainly true that it will never reach the audience of the main Opera web browser, it cannot be denied that it has the potential to establish itself as a niche browser for gamers and streamers.

Now You: Did you try Opera GX? What is your impression?

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Opera 63.0 Stable is out: here is what is new

Opera Software released a new version of the company’s desktop web browser Opera to the public on August 20, 2019. Opera 63.0 improves the browser’s private mode among other things.

Opera users may run a check for updates with a click on Menu > Update & Recovery. The browser should download and install version 63.0 automatically at that point or list the update so that it can be installed. The new Opera 63.0 can also be downloaded from the Opera website.

The new version of Opera improves private mode; Opera users who open a new private mode window get information about private mode on that page.

opera 63.0 private mode

In particular, Opera informs them that certain parties may still see the browsing activity, and that some data is deleted and some is kept when leaving private mode.

Tech savvy users known that private browsing modes are only good for reducing local traces; visited sites, Internet providers, or the organizations that operate a network the computer is connected to, may still see activity.

Users could improve privacy by using a VPN.

Opera 63.0 informs users that it will delete the browsing history, cookies and site data, and form data when private mode is exited. Data purposely created by the user, e.g. bookmarks or downloaded files, remains available.

The second change that Opera Software highlights on the official company blog moves the default location from the Other Bookmarks folder to the Bookmarks Bar. Newly saved bookmarks, e.g. by pressing Ctrl-D or clicking on the bookmarks icon in the Opera toolbar, are saved to the Bookmarks Bar by default unless a different folder is selected by the user.

The log of changes reveals other improvements and fixes. Here is a selection of noteworthy ones:

  • Chromium was updated to 76.0.3809.100.
  • Download page load speed improved.

Opera 63.0 is not a massive update feature-wise. Opera Software did fix several crashes and lots of issues in the new Opera browser version though which should be reason enough to update to the new version.

Now You: What is your take on recent Opera versions and development in general?

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