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Opera adds bookmarks sync, revs Mac browser

Sing hallelujah, it's in beta

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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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