It’s still a mystery to me why more people aren’t using Opera. Users rave about Firefox being the best browser on the market despite the fact that it’s now a bloated monster. Others fawn over Google Chrome even though it makes a mess of many pages due to its poor support for web standards. Even IE7 is now generally considered a decent choice given its improvements on the woeful previous version, yet it’s still loaded with poorly-executed features like its annoying anti-phishing tool and feeble download manager.
No, my friends, if you really want to enjoy the Web without any hassle then Opera is the best choice. In fact, the changes made in the new release of the browser, Opera 9.6, mean that you can’t afford to ignore it any longer. The browser is famed for its innovation, and usually the features you see added to new versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer have evolved from something debuted in Opera. Here are five enhancements to the program that are screaming for you to make the switch. I can assure you it’s a liberating experience.
You like that feature in Google Chrome where you get quick access to your favorite sites from one page, right? Well, it’s actually been around in Opera for more than a year, and what’s more, now it’s even better in version 9.6. Speed Dial, as it’s known, loads when you select a new tab and displays previews of up to nine sites. Its design is a lot clearer than the one in Chrome, and adding new sites to Speed Dial is much easier. You just click on a blank preview window and either enter a web address or choose a one from an automatically-generated list of your frequently visited sites.
Most of us regularly use the Internet on more than one computer, and it can be irritating that your personal preferences and browisng history are different on each one. Opera Link addresses this issue, synchronising your data both on your computer and all your devices. As well as syncing your bookmarks, Speed Dial, and notes, Opera 9.6 now lets you automatically share your custom search engines and typed history between different computers and devices.
Perhaps the coolest enhancement to the new version of Opera is the fact you can now preview RSS feeds before subscribing. Now, when you click to subscribe to any feed a newspaper-style page showing all the latest posts is displayed. You then get the option to subscribe to the feed from here, though actually I quite enjoy just bookmarking them and reading them within the browser window.
Opera comes bundled with its own streamlined mail client, to which quite a few useful changes have been made in v9.6. For starters it adds a low bandwidth mode, which speeds things up on IMAP connections by not automatically downloading attachments. The new ‘Follow/ignore threads’ is handy for anyone who gets lots of messages, as you can easily dismiss mail that isn’t important and track topics that need attention.
Since the blogging boom web pages are generally getting longer and longer. The new Opera Scroll Maker lightens the load when your scrolling through pages, indicating at the end of the page the previous position of the bottom of the screen. This makes it much easier to see where to continue. You’ll need to enable this feature from the Tools>Preferences>Advanced, by checking the ‘Show Scroll Maker’ option.