Last week Opera put up a teaser on their site about an upcoming technology that is going to “reinvent the web” and with no further clues. Today the technology was revealed – it’s called Opera Unite.
Opera Unite is a web server running inside the Opera browser. This Web server allows the user to install services and share these services with their friends and colleagues. The interaction is all done via a central Opera Unite server.
Basically what you get is the same Opera 10 beta, but with server capabilities that allows you to run various services right from your browser. To run any of these services a user requires an Opera account. Opera Unite then assigns a unique URL to each computer signing up with Opera URL. This is the URL you have to sent to your friends to enable them to access the services on your computer.
Traditional web server setup
Opera unite setup
Currently the following Opera Unite services are being offered:
- File Sharing: Securely share a file from your personal computer without waiting to upload it.
- Web Server: Run entire Web sites from your local computer with the Opera Unite Web Server.
- Media Player: Access your MP3s and playlists from any machine on the Internet.
- Photo Sharing: Share your photos direct from your PC, without uploading them online.
- The Lounge: The Lounge is a self-contained chat service running on your computer. Your friends can access the chat room via the direct link, which will not require them to sign into any service.
- Fridge: Post a note on your friends’ virtual refrigerators. By sharing the direct link to your refrigerator, you and your friends, family or colleagues can exchange notes securely and privately in real time.
“Today, we are opening the full potential of the Web for everyone,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. “Technology moves in distinct cycles. PCs decentralized computing away from large mainframes. Opera Unite now decentralizes and democratizes the cloud. With server capability in the browser, Web developers can create Web applications with profound ease. Consumers have the flexibility to choose private and efficient ways of sharing information. We believe Opera Unite is one of our most significant innovations yet, because it changes forever the fundamental fabric of the Web.”
Opera Unite is not exactly revolutionary, but it’s unique. People have been running webs servers and running music and file sharing services on their PC all the time. Opera Unite just makes it easier for the casual user to do it. And because all traffic runs through Opera’s central server, this seems like a safer approach.