In the vast universe of web browsers, Opera Browser it is often included in the list of “underdogs”, those who are relegated to the margins and neglected partly due to their own fault and partly due to lack of recognition. However, far from being a mere weak link, Opera Browser stands out as one of the longest running and most popular web browsers used by internet users from all over the world.
It is true that its usage shares cannot compete with those of giants like Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge, which dominate the browser market, but this program developed by the Norwegian Telenor has managed to build a strong base of loyal fans who have enjoyed it for almost twenty years.
The Birth of Opera
MultiTorg Opera was conceived in 1994 as an ambitious research project within the Norwegian telecommunications giant, Telenor. Soon, however, Telenor entrusts the development of the browser to Opera Software ASAa corporate spin-off created specifically for this purpose.
The first version of Opera, previewed in April of 1995 during the World Wide Web’s annual conference, it is maintained secret and used only by the small circle of Norwegian programmers and developers.
It was only with the second version, released as shareware in April of 1996, that Opera made its appearance on the big stage. It immediately gains considerable fame among users of operating systems such as Apple Macintosh, QNX from BeOSwhile in Windows its light is inevitably dimmed by Internet Explorer.
The following year, the terza major releasewhich introduces long-awaited Java Script support, HTML3 compatibility and, with version 3.5, also support for Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) files.
The first official releases
In December 2000 and November 2001 they are presented respectively Opera 5 and Opera 6, without major changes compared to the past. Meanwhile, in October 2001, Opera (as well as other alternative web browsers to Internet Explorer) was denied access to MSN.com pages (then Microsoft portal). The situation continues for two days, until a strong position taken by the other developers and users does not make the men of Redmond mend their ways.
The seventh version of Opera Browser comes out in January 2003 and is based on the new rendering engine Presto. Thanks to this new adoption, the Norwegian browser shows a significant increase in performance and page loading.
Here comes support for SVG images
Opera Browser 8released in April 2005, features full support for immagini SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). In that same year, the first version of Opera Mini, a lighter version of the browser designed exclusively for mobile devices. Up to version 4 it uses the engine of the Java ME platform, while from the fifth major release onwards it is present as a native application for operating systems such as Android, iOS, Bada, Symbian e Windows Phone.
An unsung hero in the vast universe of web browsers that has conquered a special place in the hearts of users, offering a wide range of innovative features and a unique browsing experience
June 2006 sees the arrival of Opera Browser 9the first version of the program to pass theAcid2 test. Among the important features of this new major release we find the presence of Widget, a BitTorrent client included in the browser and version 2.0 of Presto. With Opera 10however, makes its debut Opera Turbothe fast page loading system designed and built by Norwegian developers.
The Chromium Project
For the fifteenth version of Opera, the company decides to go big by completely changing the development architecture: from the graphics engine Presto it goes to WebKit building on the basis of progetto Chromium. On May 28, 2013, the first beta version of the new Opera release came out, available for both Windows and Mac computers. There are many changes that the most faithful users have to “bear”: many of the features are replaced by extensions developed in a second moment, while the old plugins are replaced by those available for Chrome.
The versions of Opera where space is given to security
Opera 23 introduces a major update: a central menu that puts control is in the hands of the users of the browser’s most crucial features, from the bookmarks bar to the Speed Dial. Also, to ensure a safe navigationnew measures are implemented for block the download of dangerous content.
Con Opera Browser 26the attention is focused on Linux users. After years of waiting, the browser finally releases a stable version especially for fans of the open source operating system. New features include the ability to import passwords and bookmarks from other browsers, as well as sharing information with other users. Furthermore, Bing is removed as your default search engine.
Opera Browser redefines the browsing experience. The watchwords are: user empowerment and online security
One of the last big updates came with Opera 29which has completely renewed the look of the browser. The way history and open pages are managed and synchronized has also been improved. To meet the demands of users, they have been introduced keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures that simplify the work of many professionals. Thanks to optimization, Opera manages to do save more than 50% battery life day laptop.
To protect user privacy, Opera 38 has integrated a Free VPN service for secure access to the internet. In an era where cyber attacks are on the rise, Opera seeks to offer a secure solution to its users, protecting them from attacks by hackers.
The browser is sold to the Chinese
Subsequently the famous Norwegian software house Opera Software ASAhe comes sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million after a previous failed deal. Chinese acquiring group Golden Brick, which includes companies Qihoo 360, Kunlun and Yonglian, buys not only the browser business, but also licenses, privacy policies and the name of the product. The Norwegian company maintains its Consumer division, including Opera Apps & Games e Opera TV.
Opera 45, released in May 2017, is based on Chromium 58 and features an improved user interface. It also offers a sidebar of integrated messaging which supports the famous Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram apps. In 2018 with Opera 50 one is introduced anti-Bitcoin mining tool to improve browser security.
Opera 95, dated February 2023, is the latest version that supports Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Today Opera Browser is the fourth most common worldwide with a share of 2.82%.