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Google misses Russian trick with Opera snubs

Mistakes Opera for 'second tier' browser

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Google I/O Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie believes Google is missing a serious opportunity in failing to support Opera as a "top tier" browser, especially in Russia, where Opera is the leading browser with 30 to 40 per cent of the market.

When Mountain View introduced its Google Instant, for instance, the "real time" search service was not available on Opera. And in many cases, Wium Lie says, when the company updates Gmail, Opera must scramble behind the scenes to solve incompatibles with its browser.

Opera's desktop browser controls about 2.15 per cent of the worldwide market, according to the latest numbers form Net Applications. But its share is much higher in Europe, particularly in Russia where, according to StatCounter, Opera is the most popular desktop browser, with about 36 per cent of the market.

Russia is one the few major countries – China being another – where Google is not the dominant search engine. Native search giant Yandex dominates the market, with an over 65 per cent share, according to liveinternet.ru. Wium Lie questions whether Google has given up on the Russia, but the company appears to be targeting the region with a new data center in Kymenlaakso, Finland.

Speaking with The Register today at Google's annual developer conference in San Francisco, Wium Lie says Opera would at least like to be notified before Google rolls out a new service or service update that may not play nicely with Opera. But as it stands, this does not happen. ®

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