Talking tech since 2003

Today, Opera Software, launched the developer version of its new Opera web browser.  The new version of Opera dubbed Opera Next is built on top of Chromium, the open source project that is behind Google Chrome.  The move to a new browser engine has allowed the Opera team to implement new functionality such as support for Google’s SPDY protocol.

Opera also revamped its Speed Dial feature, which allows you to easily filter your shortcuts and sort them into folders.  Opera Next also sports the Omnibar (like in Chrome), so you can put URLs and search queries in one place.  Opera Next also sports a few other new features including Stash, a place for you to save/bookmark content for later viewing, as well as Discovery, a place for you to find the latest news (e.g. Google News).  The user interface has been completely redesigned, it’s much more Chrome-y now.  Additionally, the browser still has at least one of Opera users favorite features: Turbo mode is now called Off-road mode.

The question now is whether or not the jump go Chromium will negatively impact Opera and alienate its user base.  The Opera user base has come to love a number of its unique browser features that are no longer included in Opera Next (at this time), and there is currently no word if/when they will ever reappear.  Features including Opera Notes, tab thumbnails, vertical tabs, and several others are not present in the latest developer release of Opera Next.

“Bring back Opera Wand, Opera Notes, Opera Link, Private tabs, Recycle bin for tabs, Tab thumbnails, Vertical tabs, Customizitions, and Opera Mail,” said one user in the YouTube comments of the video showing off Opera Next.  “Just bring back Opera to Opera.  You were supposed to change the engine, not the car,” said another.

While Opera Mail has been removed from Opera Next, the Opera team has not completely killed the product.  Instead, Opera is offering Opera Mail as a standalone app, which you can download here.

It’s worth noting that this is just a developer release, meaning features could be added back prior to its final release.  We’ve reached out to Opera for comment and will let you know if we hear back.

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