Browser War to Heat up with New Products from Opera

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With big news from Google Chrome and Firefox, the browser war has been anything but quiet lately. Norwegian browser Opera has also positioned its place in the war with several recent announcements. At SXSW, WebProNews caught up with Charles McCathieNevile, Opera's Chief Standards Officer, to talk about the company's recent efforts.

First of all, Opera released the new version of its browser, Opera 11.10 beta, which is codenamed "Barracuda." In addition, it introduced into beta a set of debugging tools called Opera Dragonfly. According to McCathieNevile, both of these developments have all the great features that users want out of Opera. He said that Opera 11 users could sync up features such as Opera Unite and links with their mobile browser to allow for bookmarks and other elements to correspond on both platforms.

The company is also making strides in mobile with the introductions of Opera Mobile 11 and Opera Mini. Opera Mobile 11 is a fully powered browser with a new, fast interface that enables APIs. McCathieNevile pointed out that the focus for Opera Mini was the user experience. Both Opera Mobile and Opera Mini are also optimized for tablets.

All of Opera's new releases have improved support for standards as well.

In terms of what sets Opera apart from the competition, McCathieNevile explained that users could run the browser on anything and that their tools include a lot of functionality.

"It's fast, it's secure, it's standards compliant, [and] it's a top-quality, modern browser; and when you dig in it, you find just a whole lot more," he said.

He indicated that the company was working on a TV offering too. Incidentally, the Inquirer reports that Opera has just announced Opera Devices 3.0, which is the newest version of its Web browser for TVs.

Because privacy concerns are always a big issue in regards to browsers, Opera is also working in this area. McCathieNevile said privacy has been a "key concern for a long time" for Opera. The user experience on Opera is encrypted to ensure that the user is not tracked or followed.

While Opera 11 gives users a clear understanding about what they're connecting to, the browser is continuing to work on helping them better distinguish between trusted sites and secure sites. McCathieNevile also pointed out that users should have very simple and clear choices when it comes to their browsing experience. In other words, these choices need to be communicated in a way that all users understand.

He said that Opera would continue to work toward this initiative because it could be used to enhance privacy.

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