Opera launches first Chromium-based beta version of web browser

In February, Opera announced that its web browser was going to switch from using its own in-house Presto engine to the WebKit-based Chromium engine that Google uses for its own Chrome web browser. In April, Opera stated that it would follow Google's lead and use its offshoot of WebKit, Blink, as its new web browser engine.

Today, Opera announced that the first public beta of its Chromium-based web browser is now available for download via the Opera Next channel. The beta is available for Windows and Mac platforms, with a Linux version to come later.

Besides the switch to Chromium, the new Opera web browser has a new user interface and a number of new features, some of which Opera added to its Android web browser earlier this year. One is called Discover, which Opera says " ... allows you to lean back and get fed with new articles from your country, or whatever region you want to get inspiration from, right in your browser - all in one place."

Opera also announced that the web browser's mail client has now been removed and is now available as a stand alone program. Opera said it made this change due to feedback from users and will allow the web browser to take up less memory and space on a PC.

Source: Opera | Image via Opera

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Long time Opera user and fan - my take? GREAT START. It's stable, rendering well and bloody quick - the rest will come later. This is a bleeding edge preview of the ENGINE not of the UI and all it's associated features - you wouldn't think that given all the people running around screaming though now would you?

If they release it on desktop like this i'll eat my hat (and my spanner). ffs.

Opera joins the ranks of Comodo, Maxthon, CoolNovo, Iron etc.
And in the mobile space with Maxthon, Next, Boat, Miren etc.

Joining the crowd and blending in

I was totally disappointed in the fact that Opera was going to switch to that POS engine, but if the folks at Opera get it tweaked correctly and make it work like the old Opera, I think I'll still use it for some time.

Down to 2 browsers mostly now, Opera and IE!! Used to always have at least 3 and sometimes 4, but never Chrome or Firefox. Used the alternatives to those garbage browsers! Don't even use Seamonkey anymore and I liked that browser for a long time just because most of you people here didn't!! LOL

I thought they were going to launch a webkit based version!! anyways I just tried the beta and some of the annoying thing I would like to get ironed out are -
1. There is too much space between the opera button and where the window starts.
2. Opera sync has vanished bring it back..
3. Gestures have vanished.
4. ctrl + Z does not work to reopen a tab.
5. The sidebar has vanished.
6. The bottom page zoom slider has vanished!
7. Many Opera extensions don't work anymore.
8. I also could not find the online theme gallery. Maybe I was missing something!
9. Tab grouping is not there.

These were some of the things which made Opera.. well... Opera and now it just feels like a skinned version of chrome... i didn't realize changing a engine would mean removing all the features which made Opera unique...

I know this is just the beta version and I would definitely wait for the final version but given that all its unique features except speed dial (which is not very unique anymore) has gone missing. I am not very hopeful.

Edited by psreloaded, May 28 2013, 4:21pm :

If it's anything like other browsers built upon Chromium, this is it. WYSIWYG. It's likely there'll be
additional features added between now and the finalised version, but as far as the GUI goes,
unless Opera port the entire frontend GUI of v12.x to the new WebKit/Blink based version of
the browser, then this dumbed down GUI suitable only for tablets is all we're getting.

DJGM said,
If it's anything like other browsers built upon Chromium, this is it. WYSIWYG.

Nope, this is just the first version. They'll be adding more features in future versions.

I am assuming a more feature-complete browser is in the works, as at the moment it does appear to be a very hollow shell. Plus on XP (work machine) the executable for the browser engine immediately crashes.

It does appear they completely did away with the old legacy Opera code, down to the UI toolkit. It appears to be using the same drawing code as Chrome.

I used it regularly too, mainly as alternative/testing browser, but I often switch my main browser (currently I'm using plain Firefox, last week IE10, before Palemoon) around, and Opera was part of that loop. Not anymore, i'll keep the current version for the other engine, but when time passes, i will most likely stop using it.

Welp, so much for my backup browser. I've always hated the way Chrome rendered text (it never looked quite right to my eyes; harder to read or something); I thought Opera and IE did it better.

Goodbye Opera, I'll miss you. At least I still have IE10. ^_^

ScorpioRGc1 said,
Welp, so much for my backup browser. I've always hated the way Chrome rendered text (it never looked quite right to my eyes; harder to read or something)

Maybe it's my aging eyes but Chrome 28 seems to render text better than before. Less jagged edges and what looked like chromatic aberration (I know it wasn't but you get the idea of what it looked like)

Agreed, the text generally appears smoother in IE than in alternatives. Also, if you have a touch-enabled Windows 8 PC, IE is the only one with proper touch support (especially in terms of smooth scrolling with inertia).

I almost always primarily used IE, dating back to IE4 all the way up to about a year or so into IE8. IE8 had fallen behind the others, though I still liked how it looked better; the only one that came close was Opera, which I used all the way until IE9 came out (and was a very, very good browser IMO, as is IE10). I still keep Opera installed for certain things, but I won't bother updating it now most likely. I don't have a need for a lot of addons and such, so I never had much use for Firefox, and I just hate Chrome, from the rendering all the way to the UI. I've tried it several times over the years. Ah well, at least IE11 will be here soon.

Jan Kratochv said,
Agreed, the text generally appears smoother in IE than in alternatives. Also, if you have a touch-enabled Windows 8 PC, IE is the only one with proper touch support (especially in terms of smooth scrolling with inertia).

Don't know about the new one but Opera has a setting you can enable in opera:config that enables touch features.

Yes, that is true, but the smoothness and reliability of touch in IE is on a whole other level. I think that Microsoft's mantra of "fast and fluid" is achieved in IE. It is hard to describe, but the touch on IE has a much better feel than say iPad's browser.

Opera Help says
The zoom slider has been removed in Opera 15 to give you more screen space.

This is the biggest BS I've read in a long time

Jose_49 said,
The amazing moment when you benchmark the browser and is called Chrome 28

Crappy browser sniffing. Chrome calls itself Mozilla, for example.

I believe features will eventually come. If not... Opera 12 will be used for a looooong time, until HTML 5 gets pushed further that the browser can't be used.

That will be the time to make a full transition to Firefox based browsers.

A340600 said,
Hey, we can't get more users by forcing Microsoft to add us as an option, so lets try Chrome.

What are you talking about? Opera just reached 300 million active users. Also, Opera didn't force Microsoft to do anything. Microsoft broke the law, and Opera, Google, Mozilla and others reported their crimes to the authorities.

The authorities then decided on the punishment.

I know ... Netscape Navigator 9.x was actually pretty good at the time. The last decent
version of Netscape before then was v7.2, built upon v1.x of the Mozilla App-Suite.

With a few added unique features, Netscape Navigator 9.x was better than Firefox.

What? Netscape was a slow and bloated browser, a Trend Mozilla continued with Firefox.

IE didnt win just because of MS deploying it to all Windows systems in the world. It won because it started faster, opened pages faster.
Firefox eventually got market share because mainly... tabbed browsing.
IE6 was developed in a time that the taskbar was used for tabbing between windows, and not just processes.

DJGM said,
Opera is fast becoming as pointless and irrelevant as Netscape.

How so? Opera is growing, unlike Netscape.

In pointlessland. There is absolutely no reason for a browser to be native 64bit. It's not faster or better in any way. If the new Opera splits tabs in processes there is even less reason for it.

Na, there will always be a performance enhancement in my opinion. I prefer everything to be 64 actually because I feel like there's always this compatibility problem in my head, even though it's just an extension in the CPU architecture.

Mr.XXIV said,
Na, there will always be a performance enhancement in my opinion. I prefer everything to be 64 actually because I feel like there's always this compatibility problem in my head, even though it's just an extension in the CPU architecture.

Enjoy your placebo effect then and rename opera's executable to opera_x64.exe

Ambroos said,
In pointlessland. There is absolutely no reason for a browser to be native 64bit. It's not faster or better in any way. If the new Opera splits tabs in processes there is even less reason for it.

Yes 64bit is completely pointless, we should just all stay on 32bit everything until teh cows come home!

/s

Ambroos said,
In pointlessland. There is absolutely no reason for a browser to be native 64bit. It's not faster or better in any way. If the new Opera splits tabs in processes there is even less reason for it.

Actually there are advantages. Plenty. Mainly in security. IE10Modern, the most secure browser at this moment, runs natively in a 64bit environment.
IE10's desktop main process is also 64bit, the tabs/pages are 32bit though.

64bit offers no enhancements in HTML display over 32bit, I've read a research a year or 2 about it, and 64bit was in some cases even slower. (sorry, do not have source anymore). But security wise, it's worth it.

Mr.XXIV said,
Na, there will always be a performance enhancement in my opinion. I prefer everything to be 64 actually because I feel like there's always this compatibility problem in my head, even though it's just an extension in the CPU architecture.

I am sure 64 bit native browsers will happen at some point in the next couple of years, but at the moment tab process isolation has made it a low priority, as it's highly unlikely unless you get a memory leak that you'll get a tab that hits the 2GB address limit even if you leave the browser running for days on end

Well, Opera used to offer 64-bit builds of their Presto-based browser, I see no point why they should stop doing so with the WebKit-based version.

Javik said,

I am sure 64 bit native browsers will happen at some point in the next couple of years, but at the moment tab process isolation has made it a low priority, as it's highly unlikely unless you get a memory leak that you'll get a tab that hits the 2GB address limit even if you leave the browser running for days on end

Running 4-5 browsers, including Opera, I'm surprised I haven't experienced a problem on Mac, but hey, I have 16GB of Memory. Of course, this is basically, mostly about Windows, is it not?

Order_66 said,

Yes 64bit is completely pointless, we should just all stay on 32bit everything until teh cows come home!

/s


I didn't say that at all, but for software that never really uses over 4GB of RAM in one process there is absolutely no reason to go 64bit at this point. Having two seperate builds means a lot more bugtesting and there is hardly any advantage.

Mr.XXIV said,
a performance enhancement in my opinion.

Say that out loud to yourself a few times and think about it long and hard.

GEIST said,

Say that out loud to yourself a few times and think about it long and hard.

So you're saying x64 has no advantage at all?

Mr.XXIV said,

So you're saying x64 has no advantage at all?


Very little. Unless the software needs more than 4GB of RAM per process or the compiler has a lot of optimization and makes optimal use of the more and larger registers there isn't much point. x86 code runs natively on x86-64 processors and the new instructions aren't that big of a performance gain (around 10% in most situations).

I can understand why they don't. Another compile target means another batch of tests to run, new bugs, ...

Ambroos said,
I can understand why they don't. Another compile target means another batch of tests to run, new bugs, ...

Then forget the 32-bit version. Really now, are there still that many people without 64-bit processors?

Even if a 64-bit version offers no performance improvement at all, I still expect one because I look forward to the day when WOW64 can be disabled completely. The 32-bit processes that I see in the Task Manager are an annoyance to me.

Chugworth said,

Then forget the 32-bit version. Really now, are there still that many people without 64-bit processors?

Even if a 64-bit version offers no performance improvement at all, I still expect one because I look forward to the day when WOW64 can be disabled completely. The 32-bit processes that I see in the Task Manager are an annoyance to me.


If you look at the Steam Hardware Survey (and you can expect most gamers to be more into 'new things' than the average population) at least 20% of all people are still using a 32bit OS: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/ - funny thing there, there are more users of 7 32bit than there are of all Windows 8 variants combined.

In some Eastern European countries Opera is a very popular browser, and I could be wrong but I sort of think quite many people will still be running 32bit systems over there. You don't want to alienate important parts of your userbase for a reason this silly.

Why exactly are they an annoyance? Absolutely nothin wrong with it. If you really want to, run Server 2008 R2. You can disable WoW64 there.

Ambroos said,
In pointlessland. There is absolutely no reason for a browser to be native 64bit. It's not faster or better in any way. If the new Opera splits tabs in processes there is even less reason for it.

It's not, if you work a lot with video and photo sites with many tabs.

Northgrove said,
The problem is that Opera largely gave up the competition thing, at least as far as rendering engines go.

By switching to a different engine they made it possible for themselves to compete again. They were spending far too much time on fixing broken sites and old regressions.

It's gone from from one of the most customisable browsers available to one of the
most uncustomisable browsers available, as well as being a rebadged Chrome.

This is a bad move by Opera. Very bad. Very bad indeed.

Steve121178 said,
Their market-share was non-existent. Maybe this will improve things a little?

Why should it spike up now? All they've done is slash development costs to near zero but a side effect is they have completely alienated they generally loyal userbase.

Steve121178 said,
Their market-share was non-existent. Maybe this will improve things a little?

Nope. The people I know that used opera used it because of the unique features and customisability it offered. They (I will assume) no longer have any reason to use opera.

corrosive23 said,
It's now nothing now than an opera themed chrome. How sad.

Kinda true but should be still better than Chrome.

DJGM said,
It's gone from from one of the most customisable browsers available to one of the
most uncustomisable browsers available, as well as being a rebadged Chrome.

This is a bad move by Opera. Very bad. Very bad indeed.

Wasn't the most uncustomisable browsers Internet Explorer or Safari?

tanjiajun_34 said,
Wasn't the most uncustomisable browsers Internet Explorer or Safari?

IE has theme's and addons. Man, addons from the 90s, designed for IE6 still work properly with IE10. Can't say that about Netscape addons for Firefox, and Chrome was non-existant then.

Shadowzz said,

IE has theme's and addons. Man, addons from the 90s, designed for IE6 still work properly with IE10. Can't say that about Netscape addons for Firefox, and Chrome was non-existant then.

I only remember ActiveX and the toolbars for IE. Anyway I just need Ad Block Plus to block the Youtube advertisements. I tried to use IE10 cos I love their font rendering but I have no idea how to block Youtube ads.... This Opera 15 can use the Chrome's AdBlock Plus

Regarding IE ... the last version of that to have a decent level of customisation was IE6!
IE9 has extremely limited customisation. You can unhide the hidden parts of the GUI,
but can't move them around, so it's all in the wrong place and looks a total mess!

Safari always had a reletively decent level of customisation, although I haven't used
that browser since v6.x was released, so I can't comment on recent versions of it.

Having used this for a few hours today I am impressed. It's certainly a pleasant twist on the Chrome concept and I like their ideas and the way it's been implemented.

This has real potential but it will never achieve more than a one digit market share which is a shame.

Well, it's not a rebadged Chrome. The interface is completely independent of Chromium, for starters. Also, for all the feature whiners, it's an alpha build. It's in active, early development.

And for those saying Opera will be chilling out now that they don't need to work on Presto … well, Opera will contribute to Blink instead.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Wasn't the most uncustomisable browsers Internet Explorer or Safari?

At least Safari allows me to modify and relocate the toolbar buttons. That's a step too far even for the new Opera browser...

corrosive23 said,
It's now nothing now than an opera themed chrome. How sad.

Learn to read change logs and you will see you don't know what your talking about

corrosive23 said,
It's now nothing now than an opera themed chrome. How sad.

So because it's a simple, basic browser it's Chrome?