Talking tech since 2003

Opera Software ASA has just released their Opera 10.5 web browser, boasting it to be “the fastest browser on Earth”.  While pre-release versions of the browser have been available for a while now, the final version is intended to be stable and suitable for general day-to-day use.  This is a symbolic release for the fifth largest browser with a market share just surpassing two percent, mostly because of under-the-hood improvements that make the browsing experience more reliable.

Asides from a more polished and slightly re-designed interface, Opera 10.5 has a handful of improvements under the hood, making it an appealing browser choice.  These changes include the implementation of Katakan, Opera’s new and more efficient JavaScript engine.  This is significant because of Opera’s reputation for being one of the best when it comes to JavaScript execution and performance.  The new version also includes Vega, a new graphics library intended to make the rendering of pages more efficient.  Opera states that all of this ultimately means “no more waiting around for a site to load”.
In addition to the performance upgrades under the hood, Opera 10.5 has made a couple of improvements to make browsing easier for the end user.  One of these new features is a private browsing mode, which Opera states “hides all traces of sites you visit”.  Opera’s implementation of private browsing is important, because this was a feature that had previously been left out of Opera, despite having become a de-facto standard for modern web browsers.  However, Opera’s privacy feature is unique in the sense that it allows the user to have a private browsing tab as opposed to a separate window; something that Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer lack.  The other improvement that has been made has been platform integration for Windows 7’s “Aero Peek” feature.  Unlike the peek feature in Firefox, Opera’s implementation of peek allows the user to see all of their tabs, as opposed to just the one they have open.

Of course, Opera 10.5 still includes all of the features that Opera enthusiasts have come to love, such as “Turbo Mode” and “Unite”, as well as the built-in email and IRC capabilities.  Overall, the improvements in Opera 10.5 are significant, and may even compel me to begin using it as a day-to-day browser.

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