« 'Get It Done Using Technology' vidcast | Main | The Art of Network Troubleshooting »

February 08, 2006

Opera 9 Preview 2 released

Opera has been my favourite browser since it release version 8 and made it free. It is at version 8.5 at the moment and version 9 is expected in March, but labs.opera.com have released a preview of the new browser and it looks brilliant.

Looks are the same, but the new features are going to make this browser a must have. Opera were the first to integrate tabbed browsing but Firefox really made it popular, but with the new version 9 Opera gives us a much needed feature, one I have wanted for a while. It is the ability to switch through the open tabs with a keyboard shortcut, much the same way you can switch between open windows with ALT+TAB. The short cut is CTRL+TAB and lists the open windows in the center of the screen allowing you to easily select the tab you want.

Pressing CTRL+TAB displays open tabs in the center of the screen.

A closer view of my open tabs.

The other nice feature is the thumbnail’s that now appear when you place your mouse over a tab so you can ‘preview’ the contents of that page. I think this could be very useful for people like me who like to open lots of tabs. The thumbnails were a little slow to appear which could just be caused by my slowish computer, but I am sure the final release will perform better as they normally always do.

Place your mouse over a tab for the thumbnail to display.

A closer view of the thumbnail.

Other new features of Opera 9 are ‘widgets’ which are much like Konfabulator or Dashboard widgets. Reviewers have not been enthusiastic about the widgets, but I am sure they will develop further and be of use. Opera 9 is also the first browser to support the downloading and seeding of BitTorrents, which even though most people will use a standalone client is a nice inclusion as lots of IPTV show distribute their content via BitTorrent and using it within the browser will make it easier for others.

So far I am very happy about the features in the preview of Opera 9 and have had no stability issues or problems, which is something I can not say for the recent IE 7 Preview which freezes constantly.

Posted by The Technician at February 8, 2006 05:53 PM