This Article Was Written By Josh Dimino of The College at Brockport SUNY.
Contact Josh at JoshDimino@gmail.com

When doing research for a previous blog here on High-Tech-Hype called “‘Stumble Upon’ Endless Personalized Possibilities,” I came across the coolest web browser I have seen to date.

It seems that the Windows “Explorer” browser went to the wayside years ago when Mozilla’s “FireFox” was realized to be the much more sleek and reliable alternative to the Window’s default browser that comes standard on all PC’s. On Mac computers Safari is the default browser included on their machines, although Firefox and other companies have now released Mac friendly versions of their browsers. Most recently we have seen the Google franchise take their swing at the competitive free browser market with their product “Google Chrome,” and the most hyperactive and creative ad campaign for browsers yet to date with a cartoon cat telling us that we should be expecting more from our browsers and internet.

Now I will be completely honest and upfront in admitting that I have still not tried Google Chrome yet, but I am very familiar with Explorer, FireFox (for Mac and PC) Safari, and now Opera.

When researching StumbleUpon for that previous article, I discovered that one of the browsers that supports StumbleUpon was something called Opera – and since I had never heard of it before I did a quick search for it and was blown away!

Opera Speed-Dial

The Opera browser's Speed Dial feature can hold up to 25 of your favorite pages in a highly visual organization.

Opera has several features that no other web browser has, as well as some of the other popular features of its leading competitors. I think the coolest feature unique to Opera is the “Speed Dial.” It is a menu of up to 25 pages you choose, set up like the keypad on a phone. It’s a great way to visually organize the pages you use most, and comes up automatically when you click the plus sign to add a new tab (a common feature now on the latest versions of FireFox and Explorer).

Opera mouse geatures

A break down of some of the simply mouse gesture features of Opera 10.50

Another feature unique to Opera are the simple mouse gestures. To go back to the previous page, you hold down right mouse button, move mouse left, and release or hold the right button down and click the left button. To open a new tab, hold down right mouse button, move mouse down, and release. Easy commands that make web browsing that much easier.

Opera has several security features visible to the end user. One is the option to delete private data, such as HTTP cookies, the browsing history, and the cache, with the click of a button. This lets users erase personal data after browsing from a shared computer. When visiting a secure web site, Opera encrypts data using either SSL 3 or TLS, both of which are highly secure encryption protocols. It then adds information about the site’s security to the address bar. It will also check the web site that is being visited against blacklists for phishing and malware, and warn if it matches any of these lists. This behavior is enabled by default, but the user may opt to not make such checks automatically. If this check is disabled, the user can still check sites individually by opening a Page Info dialog.

One set of third-party speed tests concluded that Opera 9.5 was indeed faster than Internet Explorer 7 and prerelease versions of Firefox 3 and Safari 3. Opera was designed with a commitment to computer accessibility for users who have visual or motor impairments.

To see some of Opera’s features – check out the video tutorial below>. To download Opera free for your PC or mobile device, click here. Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more High-Tech-Hype!

This Article Was Written By Josh Dimino of The College at Brockport SUNY.
Contact Josh at JoshDimino@gmail.com

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