Opera 15+ Review

Just a Google Chrome clone.

My Rating: yesyesyesnono

Pros

Cons

I used the Opera web browser starting from version 4 all the way through to version 12. At that time the browser was cutting edge. It introduced new features on a regular basis that were built right into the browser itself. In many cases these features then appeared as extensions in other browsers or even made it into the browser itself. Opera was the innovator basically driving what features browsers would be expected to provide. During this time the browser switched rendering engine several times and on each occasion made sure that the new version continued to support all of the features people had come to expect from the prior version plus new features that the prior version didn't have. Each new version was a significant upgrade on all prior web browsers.

After version 12, Opera decided to switch rendering engines again but this time took a completely different approach. Instead of making sure that all the features of their prior version were in the new version and building from there, Opera instead released a browser version with even less functionality than its competition. Over time the browser has added back the features that its competitors provided and some of the features that distinguished Opera from the other browsers (presumably those they considered important - I don't know as the features that the latest Opera has that no other browsers have are ones I never had a use for when they were first introduced in versions of Opera that I did use). None of those features that I thought really distinguished Opera from the competition have been reintroduced resulting in Opera now appearing to me as just a Google Chrome clone as it mostly functions the same way since both are built on the same rendering engine.

It also seems that many share my opinion as there is now another new browser under development called "Vivaldi" that is attempting to recreate the main features of the old Opera browser on an open source rendering engine. Had Opera continued to meet expectations by continuing at the leading edge of browser development instead of dumping most of the features that distinguished it from other browsers then creating this new browser (which apparently is being developed by some who were involved directly with Opera in the past) would not have been necessary.

About the only use the latest Opera version now has is for people who mostly use Google Chrome but need a different browser to login to the same site twice in special circumstances. In this instance Opera is different enough from Chrome to count as a different browser and similar enough for both to work the same way. As this type of situation doesn't often occur I can't see much future for Opera.

 

This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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