Opera 11 beta was released this week, this may not seem like much to some because their market share has been crippled in recent months by the growth of Chrome and the resurgence of IE with IE9.
But to those in the web design community, we still look toward Opera for innovation. They come up with a lot of these ideas first only to be duplicated by competitors and ultimately improved upon.
Seriously, how long had Opera displayed ‘speed dial’ as a home screen before Apple came along and produced their own version. Obviously Apple made this sexier with a curved effect and reflections but Opera were there first.
Opera 10 still had features that others weren’t even close to replicating. Whether there is much uptake of these features remains to be seen. Previews in tabs and a dynamic search box with single letter shortcuts for popular sites are real innovations within browser design. Want to search wikipedia, type ‘w’ before your query.
But now Opera is taking things up to 11, with a neat Spinal Tap reference in the tagline and branding. The biggest development is tab stacking that allows you to stack tabs on top of each other.
I, for one, would find this really useful because I’m a sucker for tabs and I hate using the browsers back button. I’d rather load up 2 or 3 pages and close at will. A great inclusion that I can see Chrome adopting especially for use within Google Docs. You could have spreadsheets open in different stacks than word Docs. Maybe this is what Opera are aiming for?
Will this bring Opera back into the fight? I doubt it. Thy will retain a cult following but I’m definitely glad they’re still around because they’re great for the industry.