Earlier today, Opera software announced on their community blog MyOpera that the new anticipated version of their desktop browser, Opera 11 would be released in beta after having undergone several alpha releases.
A Neowin user pointed out that the beta had been uploaded to Opera’s FTP servers, which currently remains the only source to download. Opera have been known in the past for uploading builds to their FTP before official release, which could explain the quick find.
Opera 11 sports an increase in performance on top of numerous new additions including a feature many have asked for, and has finally been added; extensions. Unlike Firefox, Opera extensions can be installed and uninstalled without the need to restart the browser – a nifty little addition. Additionally the browser is capable of auto-updates of extensions which means there is no need to keep checking for updates of your extensions, you’ll be up to date at all times. Currently the extension gallery sits at 137 available extensions with the most popular being a version of Adblock called NoAds. Extensions in many browsers cannot be used in modes such as private browsing. Opera goes against this idea and support extensions in private browsing and secure connections.
With previous versions of Opera, the installer was very much a usual web browser installation process with no support of portable installation. A new installer has been implemented which as well as looking much better and being a simpler installation process, it supports portable installation options.
Google search suggestions have also been implemented making search faster and more convenient for all of its users although unfortunately, Google continue to ignore Opera by not allowing support for their most recent features such as Google Instant and Google Instant Previews.
As reported by Neowin last week, Opera was named the most secure web browser, with only six vulnerabilities being found over a period of a year. The company seems to want to keep that title by arming Opera 11 with safer address fields. The new feature gives a badge to each web page which replaces HTTP, HTTPS and opera; protocols which are only shown when focusing on the address field. By clicking on the badge it provides an overview of the security of the web page you’re visiting (e.g. If you’re on the Opera official website it will be a verified website. If you’re on a web page you’ve visited for the first time it won’t have the same verification.)
Furthermore, there is plugin on demand support which is rather like Google Chrome’s “Click to Play” extension although this feature is disabled by default. When enabled, flash content will not be loaded and needs to be clicked before it begins to load.
Last month, we were asked to guess the next Opera 11 beta feature in which flocks of people said “Hardware acceleration”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case but the new feature most definitely isn't a let down.
In the end, the ability to stack tabs and a new way to pin tabs was the outcome – which are both welcomed additions. Tab stacking works by dragging a tab on top of another tab, which results in putting them into a group. From there, you can control the group by open and closing the stack with a toggle given to the last viewed web page in that group. Opera seem to be the first web browser that has implemented the ability to stack tabs which leads to the possibility that it could be a feature we soon see in Google Chrome and even Safari 6 (if we're lucky).