I really like Opera. When I need to do some browsing, I open Opera. It’s full featured yet not cluttered. Mouse gestures and the render speed make it very fast and efficient to do browse many things at once. However, the gap I find it has in speed and ease of use is closing. I still use Internet Explorer. It is set as my default browser. Opening links from emails or whatever, IE is just far more convenient. It feels lighter for the smaller tasks. And now with IE 8 on Windows 7, pinned web pages and frequently visited have an even lower barrier of entry.
I wanted to know, before I install the beta, does Opera 10 make proper use of Windows 7 Jump Lists. How nice would it be if your Speed Dial was in your Jump List? I don’t know whether it is or not, but my problem is when I searched for it I don’t find what I want, and I find myself reading again the garbage about the Opera CEO complaining that Opera isn’t installed by default on Windows but IE is and users should have none, or all browsers installed for choice. What annoys me about this is that it is the OEMs Opera should be pushing to install their stuff. Prebuilt PCs come with plenty of crapware, it would be a pleasant change if some of it was good. Also, they do not complain about Apple including Safari in OS X, or Ubuntu including Firefox, and do not push them to install Opera. The Google Chrome guys made the point with this video that the end user really does not even know what a browser is (I tried this one on my wife, who I have using Opera, and my Mum, both gave the same kind of answer as the people on the video. I found it fascinating, try it on your friends.). So claiming that the end users are the ones that want more choice seems difficult. Multiple browsers installed as a suggest best solution, is by far not the best solution. The end user only cares if it is simple and works. More choices for most users is just more confusing.
I am probably being too hash on Opera. More competition is certainly good. Firefox’s popularity gave Microsoft a kick to finally get moving again with updating IE from the dated version 6. Personally I don’t understand why Opera is not more popular. The guys at Opera are doing awesome work. Simple features like mouse gestures, speed dial, custom searches and Opera Link make using it quicker and simpler than others. Opera 10 has some nice features like inline spell checker and auto update. I’m unsure how Opera Unite will go. The video show the purpose of Opera Unite is really cool. The feature that I find potentially useful at the moment is the file sharing, for access to my home PC from work, but there are other ways to do that. So as with any platform it will succeed if it is embraced by developers with some killer apps. Until then best of luck to Opera.