Opera 'reinvents the web' with Opera Unite

It seems that Opera have come out and unveiled their planned announcement about 'reinventing the web' in the last few minutes, with a project they have called Opera Unite, something which seems very promising.

So, what is Opera Unite? According to the press release, it is a new technology that consolidates any computer into both a client and server machine, which means it can "interact with and serve content" to other computers, disregarding any need for third-party servers. This is all well and good, but what benefits does this service provide? Well, apparently, for consumers it means you will be able to easily share data with any device that has a modern browser, all whilst having greater control of your private data. For the web developers, though, it means creating complex web services will be vastly simplified; Unite is based on as same standards as websites today, so now creating an advanced web service is as easy as making a standard site.

These are the current features, according to the aforementioned press release:

File Sharing:

Securely share a file from your personal computer without waiting to upload it. First select the folder from which you would like to share files. Opera Unite then generates a direct URL to that folder. By giving that link to your friends, you can share files without routing through a third-party Web service.

Web Server:

Run entire Web sites from your local computer with the Opera Unite Web Server. After selecting the folder containing your Web site, you can share and host it from the given Opera Unite URL. Opera Unite will automatically recognize index files and create the Web site as you designed it.

Media Player:

Rock out wherever you are by accessing your MP3s and playlists from any machine. After selecting the folder containing your playlist, use the Opera Unite direct link to play your tracks directly in any modern Web browser.

Photo Sharing:

Share your photos direct from your PC, without uploading them online. Once you select your photo folder, the photo-sharing service will create a thumbnail image gallery of your photos. Clicking the thumbnail will present the photo in its original resolution.

The Lounge:

The Lounge is a self-contained chat service running on your computer. Your friends can access the chat room via the direct link, which will not require them to sign into any service. Depending on your privacy settings, you need only provide the generated password to your service in order for people to log in to your chatroom.

Fridge:

Post a note on your friends' virtual refrigerators. By sharing the direct link to your refrigerator, you and your friends, family or colleagues can exchange notes securely and privately in real time.

Enough chat; how can you get your hands on this and test it out? First of all, download the latest build of Opera Unite from the labs website. After you've done that and installed it (you'll need a special version of Opera 10, available from the labs link available below), click the Unite logo in the bottom left corner of the browser and enter your Opera ID; you can use one you've previously set up, otherwise you will be asked to make one. Once you've done that, you're ready to go. Opening the Opera Unite panel of the browser, you can peruse the services available, and you can add more by going to the Unite webpage. Also, "Running a service will give you a direct Web address to the Opera Unite service on your device, for example: http://notebook.jondoe.operaunite.com/photo_sharing/, where "notebook" is the name of the local device serving content, "jondoe" is your username, and "photo_sharing" is the Web service being accessed. That link will also allow others to access the same Web service from your computer through their Web browser."

The CEO of Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, said, "Today, we are opening the full potential of the Web for everyone. Technology moves in distinct cycles. PCs decentralized computing away from large mainframes. Opera Unite now decentralizes and democratizes the cloud. With server capability in the browser, Web developers can create Web applications with profound ease. Consumers have the flexibility to choose private and efficient ways of sharing information. We believe Opera Unite is one of our most significant innovations yet, because it changes forever the fundamental fabric of the Web."

If you're unsure about anything, head to the support page for Unite, which has a wealth of content available. Additionally, there is an introduction to Opera Unite here.

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