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Opera adds bookmarks sync, revs Mac browser

Sing hallelujah, it's in beta

Web browser pioneer Opera has seen its innovations ripped off so many times it can be excused for borrowing some ideas itself.

Today the company took the wraps off a feature with a distinctly familiar feel to it: synchronized bookmarks. Users will be able to sync the bookmarks saved in Opera Mini with the "Speed Dial" in the desktop version, and vice versa.

The idea isn't new: your correspondent has a hazy recollection of being thrown out of the San Francisco launch party for "social bookmark" dot.com failure Backflip, many years ago. The idea was then lifted by a Wall Street IT guy, Josh Schechter, for his deli.cio.us web service - since acquired by Yahoo! Where, like so many Yahoo! acquisitions, it's disappeared into a black hole - emerging occasionally as a spam conduit.

(Mac users who subscribe to the .Mac service have been able to sync their bookmarks for a while, too.)

With enthusiasm for FireFox waning, Opera senses an opportunity to spread the word about its own, often overlooked browser - particularly, the company's Thomas Ford told us, since the success of the Wii console has spurred renewed interest.

So Mini 4 beta 3 rolls out today, while version 9.5 of the desktop browser - Kestrel - is due before the end of the year. The new desktop client features a full search history built into the toolbar, and shows off the new scripting engine. Mac users should note that with this release, Opera regains the speed crown from Safari - it's rough, but very impressive.

You can download Mini here, run a simulator here, and find 9.5 in beta here. ®

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