Opera turns your computer to server

We keep hearing internet pundits predict how the internet browser that handy application which lets you browse your favorite websites is slowly going to become the center of all your work. The internet browser is rapidly moving away from just being a software that let you browse the web. And it has just been given another fillip.

Opera may not be as popular as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, but the Opera browser has forged a reputation for being one of the most innovative in the world. It was the first to come up with tabbed browsing – the option to open multiple websites in the same window – and also on efot he pioneers in synchronising bookmarks on the desktop browser and mobile phone browser. And now, with its latest version, 10.10, Opera has once again added  a new dimension to browsing, by including a server in the browser itself.

If that sounds like Greek to you, then here is simple version – with the new Opera browser, you can share pictures, music, documents and just about any file with the people you want. You can do it without having to upload any file to a website or attach it to an e-mail. That’s right, no more twiddling your thumbs while you wait for your pictures to get uploaded to Facebook or Flickr or Picassa; or sauntering off to brew some coffee while your detailed multimedia presentation gets attached to your e-mail over a broadband connection that tends to struggle more often than not. You do not need to even compress or zip up heavy files, all you need to do to share information is click a few buttons.

Making all this magic happen is a part of the Opera browser called Opera Unite. Cutting out the fancy server jargon, it lets you specify which files on your computer – documents, music, video – you would like to share it with your friends. Once you do this, it generates a URL. Now, all tha remains to be done to make sure your friends to view the file – just send them the URL and ask them to enter it in their browser. That’s it – they will bea bel to see the content you wish to share. The concept is as simple as browsing the internet – when you enter the URL of a website you are taken to the server that hosts the website, so that you can see it. Opera unite actually turns your computer into the server – so when a user enters the URL you sendd him or her, they are actually looking at the files on your computer itself. You can even play music on your computer and let your friends hear it on theirs. No uploading or downloading involved.

Of course, this does raise the specter of security issues – after all, people are looking at information on your computer. Well, there is a password option that ensures that only those users who enter the correct password can access the information you wish to share. Discretion is, however, advised.

There are those who will sneer at this feature, pointing out that this is very similar to peer-to-peer (P2P) computing where two computers connect to each other and exchange information, and can therefore be done from just about any browser like the Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. While this is indeed true, the fact is that none of the browsers out there have a server installed within them, which really simplifies the task for the user, who has no additional software or plugins to download. All one needs to do is grab Opera 10.10 from www.opera.com and signup for a My Opera account. Opera 10.10 costs nothing, in best browser tradition.

There are other features worth a mention in the browser, such as Turbo browsing option that lets you download pages faster and Visual Tabs, that let you drag the handles below the tabs to get snapshots of the web page you are browsing, but it is Opera Unite that we see changing web browsing as we know it.

Decade’s Top 10 Internet Moments

– Online video revolution in 2006 that led to a boom in homemade and professional content on the internet and helped reshape everything from pop culture to politics.

– Facebook opens to non-collage students and twitter takes off in 2006

– The iPhone debuts in 2007 and smartphones go from a luxury item to a necessity with an app for just about every aspect of modern life.

– American presidential campaign in 2008 in which the internet changed every facet of the way campaigns are run. Obama camp managed campaigns on web effectively.

– Iranian election protest in 2009 when twitter proved vital in organizing demonstrations and also as a platform for expressing dissent.

– Wikipedia, the free opensource encyclopaedia, launches in 2001 and today boasts more than 14 million articles in 271 different languages and bringing strangers together on projects.

– Napster shutdown in 2001, opening the file-sharing floodgates.

– Google AdWords launched in 2000 allowing advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision.

– Craigslist, the free classifieds site, expands outside San Francisco in 2000, reshaping the way advertisements are placed.