Opera Software recently took a >major decision to stop using its own rendering engine, and move to Google’s Blink engine on desktop and Android platforms. The Norwegian browser vendor has already released stable builds with Blink in action. One can download and use Blink-powered Opera browser on Windows, Mac and Android phones.
If you think that by doing so Opera has become a poor clone of Chrome – you are wrong. Opera Software is a super innovative browser vendor. It introduced many new concepts like speed dial icons, tab browsing etc. Also, Opera is very active in supporting and implementing Open Standard technologies. Of course, Opera is a small and non-US company with very small browser market share, but you can’t simply ignore it.
If you are surprising why one should choose Opera over Chrome, here are five reasons:
You must have read hundreds of articles like this one, where the author decides to move away from Google due to privacy and other issues, and switches over to Mozilla Firefox. Unfortunately, Firefox is too slow and far behind the Chrome. If you are a privacy-concerned user, Opera is a great choice for you. You can enjoy all awesome features of Chrome without surrendering to Google.
Not A Dumb Company
Opera has a great team of industry experts and developers. Although, it is using the Chromium source code to power its browser, the company would ensure to deliver a unique and better product. For example, the Opera for Android has totally different UI and features than the Chrome for Android. Moving to WebKit/Blink solves compatibility and browser discrimination issues, and gives Opera an opportunity to focus on other important features.
Earlier available as “Turbo Mode”, the Off-Road mode of Opera browsers enables server-side data compression to reduce bandwidth and data charges. Users with slow internet connections would definitely love this feature. The Off-Road mode uses encrypted connection to enhance privacy and security. The beta build of Chrome for Android has a similar feature, but it is not as efficient as the Off-Road mode of Opera.
Opera now supports Chrome’s Extension System and also maintains its separate add-on gallery. Users can install and use Chrome extensions in Opera, and developers don’t need to learn new extension APIs. Although, the Opera team has not implemented various API modules yet, but I hope that this will be fixed soon. Apart from the Chrome extension APIs, Opera would also support some Opera-specific APIs to customize the browser. One good example of this is opr.speeddial module which can be used to customize the speed dials. We may see more such modules in coming days.
But the real benefit of installing extensions from Opera’s add-on gallery is the manual review process used for submitted items. Opera employees manually review submitted extensions and themes before they go public in the add-on gallery. On the other hand, Chrome’s Web Store doesn’t have this feature which may result into vulnerable and malicious extensions in the store. We have already seen several cases where a Chrome Web Store-hosted extension was involved in inappropriate activities.
Browsing Data Sync
This feature is yet to be implemented in Blink-based Opera builds. Once implemented, users would be able to sync their browsing data like bookmarks, history, preferences etc. across multiple platforms and devices. A big advantage of Opera is its availability across all leading mobile platforms and devices (as Opera Mini browser), and hence users can sync and access their data on all of their devices and platforms including BlackBerry, Android, iOS, Windows, Symbian and even J2ME.