Opera 11.50 debuts with Speed Dial extensions
Beyond the thumbnail
Opera has officially released a new version of its desktop browser – Opera 11.50 – adding widget-like "extensions" to the familiar Speed Dial page that appears each time you open a new tab.
Previously, Speed Dial only offered thumbnails that linked you to oft-visited sites. But with Opera 11.50 – announced in the early Norwegian hours on Tuesday – you can also install extensions that provide real-time access to content directly from the page. "These are basically like small front-ends to websites," Jan Standal, Opera's vice president of Desktop Products, tells The Register. An extension might provide weather updates or the latest news headlines.
Expanding on the company's Opera Link service, Opera 11.50 also lets you synchronize your web passwords across Opera browsers running on multiple devices. Similar to Firefox Sync, Opera Link already synchronizes bookmarks, Speed Dial settings, search engine preferences, notes, and browser history.
Both Speed Dial extensions and password-syncing were available with the 11.50 beta. But since the release of the beta, Standal says, Opera has worked to streamline the browser's design. "Users wanted the browser to feel even faster and more simple," he explains. "It's a more minimalistic design."
What's more, Opera has upgraded the browser's core rendering engine and tweaked its graphics engine with faster CSS and SVG rendering. But according to Standal, the new version does not include WebGL support, which is still limited to the developer version of the browser.
Opera 11.50 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it here. ®
Content Blocker Sync
Whilst Firefox fanboys all go mental over AdBlock+ which breaks more sites than it cleans, Opera's solution is far more elegant. The Content Blocker rules are sync'd between Opera installations.
If I block a banner ad (or site) in one Opera, all my other browsers I sign into are also blocked.
It means I don't need a massive and draconian blocking rule, I just have a lightweight rule that blocks the main offenders and the sites I visit.
There are some impressive performance improvements here, in Sunspider it beats Chrome and IE9 on my system and crucifies Firefox4.
Some more stuff for the competition to copy :)
And the best ...
... just got better