Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Opera 9.5 Released

Opera managed to launch its new release - version 9.5 a few days(12th June) before Firefox 3 Download Day(17th June).

Let see what are the new features and improvements.
At first glance, you can see there is a big revamp on user interface. The tab bar has a new modern vista-alike design, some useful View Bar functions now can be accessed right from the status bar, Add New Tab button is replaced with a smaller plus icon.

Top Difference - Click to enlarge

New Features
Quick Find: When you are typing on the address bar, it gives the suggestion of sites you searching for in a drop down menu, it is not only searches for title and url in history and bookmarks, it also searches for text contents inside history pages. This feature will also be implemented in Firefox 3 but it is called AwesomeBar and it doesn't includes the search of page contents.

Opera Link: Synchronization of Bookmarks, Personal bar, Speed Dial entries and Notes with other instances of the browser via Internet. What you need to do is create an Opera account, then follow by synchronization under File -> Synchronize Opera, and you can have your bookmarks, Speed Dial entries synchronized on Opera running on other PCs as well as Opera mobile browsers(Opera Mobile & Opera Mini). If Opera is not available on other PCs, you still have web based access to your stuffs by logging into your Opera account.

BitTorrent support: Built-in Opera Mail, RSS reader, chat, widget... is already more than a browser, and now even a BitTorrent clients.

-Lots of performance, stability and memory improvements throughout the new engine

- Tab preview is even better now, besides the preview when hovering over tabs, now thumbnail preview is shown when you cycling through tabs with Ctrl+Tab or Mouse Right-Click+Mouse Scroll. Need to enable first under Tools->Preferences->Advanced

- Thumbnail preview of tab cycling

-Improved session manager -> added option to save only the active window as a session when multiple windows are opened
-Better content-blocking options
-Improved fraud protection includes advanced malware prevention and upgraded phishing detection technologies
-Added support for Extended Validation (EV) certificates.
-Quite number of changes in keyboard shortcuts, single-key shortcut such as Z/X to navigate history, 1/2 to switch tabs is disabled by default, setting can be found at Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Shortcuts
-Improved download dialog, no more file type confusion
-One more thing I noticed is real-time preview of changes in Appearance settings, e.g. when you tick Main Bar selection in Toolbars options, the Main Bar will show up immediately so you will have a preview of it before you confirm the change.

*Side panel toggle at the edge of windows is disabled by default, enable it under Tools->Appearance->Panels, so you can have access to the very useful panel, it also can be open/close by keyboard shortcut F4.

Opera a solid browser with superb speed and reliability, and plenty of features: Quick Find, Opera Links, Speed Dial, Session Manager, Tab Preview, Mouse Gesture, Download Manager, Mail client, Content Blocking, Site Preferences, Widgets, advanced controls and options... However still no luck on right-click support on some sites with Opera 9.5, e.g. Google products(docs, maps...)

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Going to try Firefox 3 in next few hours when it is available. Let's see which one is better...