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.

Google Suggests Gmail Users Dump IE

Google Inc. is pushing users of its Gmail  e-mail service to dump Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer for its own Chrome browser or Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox.

When users of IE6 reach Gmail.com, a “Get faster Gmail” message appears in the Web-based service’s menu bar. The message, in turn, links to a page on Google’s Web site that touts Chrome and Firefox 3 as being “twice as fast” at running Gmail.

Last week, the Gmail site also displayed the message to users browsing with Microsoft’s IE7, but Google has since discarded that version of the notice. Users running other browsers, including Apple Inc.’s Safari and Opera Software ASA’s namesake browser, haven’t been shown the speed-up message.

Google currently lists IE7, Firefox 2.0 and later releases, Chrome and Safari as the only supported browsers for Gmail . Others, including Opera and older editions of IE, Firefox and Safari, can be used to access the e-mail service but aren’t able to handle some of its features.

More than 21% of users who browsed the Internet last month ran IE6, according to Web metrics company Net Applications Inc. IE7, meanwhile, accounted for about 48% of the browser market during November, with Firefox 3 in third place with nearly 16%.

Google has been aggressively marketing Chrome since it stripped the browser of its beta label earlier this month. A day later, for example, Google dropped Firefox as the default browser bundled with Google Pack application bundle and added Chrome in its place.

Google, Mozilla and WebKit — the open-source project that provides the engine for Apple’s Safari — have spent much of the second half of this year trumpeting JavaScript performance improvements , a necessary move, they say, to make Gmail and other Web applications run at speeds similar to that of traditional desktop software.