Opera Launches Beta Of Its First Chromium-Based Browser

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Opera Now is the new name for the Norwegian company’s latest creation

Opera Software has released a preview of its first-ever desktop browser developed using the Chromium engine.

Called Opera Now, the build offers a fresh visual design, content discovery features, and removes email capability but adds more tools to organise websites.

Opera Now is available from today as a free download, for both Windows and Mac.

Made from scratch

The current iteration of the popular browser skips two version numbers, to arrive at 15. The developers have done it so the browser’s version number reflects the version number of the engine. Opera Now is the first Opera product to use Chromium instead of proprietary Presto engine, the retirement of which was announcement in February.

opera-win-speeddial (Custom)The new browser also drops the proprietary Carakan JavaScript engine in favour of Google’s V8.

“Completely rethinking a browser in today’s competitive market is a big thing,” said Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president of desktop products at Opera Software. “Our new browser is more beautiful and allows users to harness the massive amount of web content they are faced with today. Give it a try and discover something completely new.”

Opera Now tests a completely new look for the icons and the tab bar. The developers have also improved the ‘Speed Dial’ – Opera’s grid of start page shortcuts, which can now be organised into searchable, filtered folders.

Opera Turbo mode, which compresses images to deliver better performance on slow connections, is now called Off-Road and supports SPDY open networking protocol.

The familiar email client has been removed from the browser in order to make it go easier on resources. Instead, the Norwegian company now offers a standalone Opera Mail app with new labelling and filtering tools, threads and multiple tabs.

With this new release, Opera has learned to serve up fresh localised content right in the browser window with a Discover feature – a kind of news feed on specific topics such as current affairs, food or technology.

‘Stash’ is another new feature – a collection of websites on a certain topic, especially useful when shopping online and comparing prices. Users simply hit the heart icon in the address bar to collect the websites they want to compare, and can later scan the Stash by resizeable page previews, or search through keywords.

And it’s not just the desktop browser that’s going through some serious changes. Opera has decided to use the open source WebKit engine to build the next version of Opera Mobile, rather than an in-house development. The beta version of the result was released in March.

Opera 15

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Opera 15 - Address dropdown

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