Opera Software has just released the first build of the new Opera for desktop computers based on Chromium 28, turning over a new leaf in the browser’s nearly two decades of existence. Being based on the latest Chromium build means that it includes Blink, a new rendering engine developed by Google for use with their Chrome browser, forked from Webkit. Opera had initially announced the move to WebKit in February, but after Google themselves moved to Blink in April, Opera followed suit.
The first build of Opera 15 has been released in Opera Next, a development channel where early adopters could test new features in the upcoming version of the browser before they go mainstream. Opera calls this build “Stable”, so it’s good enough to replace your primary web browser.
What’s new in Opera 15?
Opera’s popular shortcuts start page has been refreshed to make exploring web content easier and smarter. Speed Dial shortcuts can now be gathered in folders and easily filtered. Drag and drop one Speed Dial entry on top of another to create a folder, or use the new Speed Dial search field to experience the power of visual Speed Dial entries combined with the flexibility and organization of a classic bookmark folder.
Get hot, new content, with no browsing necessary. The new Discover feature allows you to lean back and get fed with new articles from your country, or whatever region you want to get inspiration from, right in your browser – all in one place. Pick and choose your category: news, food, technology or something else you are more interested in. Opera brings you a selection of relevant global and regional sources to discover web content more easily.
Imagine that, after hours of shopping at your mall for new shoes, you find a single shelf with all the pairs you have tried on so far, so you can sit down, compare, and pick the winner. That’s what Opera’s new Stash feature does for you with websites. Simply hit the heart icon in the address bar to collect the websites you want to compare easily while shopping, or to keep your travel research on hotels, sights and flights at your fingertips. Scan your Stash by resizable page preview, or search what you’ve saved, with keywords.
Now, you can search directly from the new combined address and search bar. Simply start typing a webpage address to go directly to your favorite site, or enter a search term and choose one of several search engines to look for suggested websites.
Rest your eyes on the new, refined user interface. It is modern, sleek, deeply integrated with the platform and built from the ground up. Browse more easily with new elegant icons, tab bar and more.
What’s gone from Opera 15?
Absolutely Everything. Opera is no longer the browser you knew, it’s now just another Chrome clone.
If you love Opera, this is the mother of all disasters. I’ve been a fan of this browser, and have been using it for more than a decade, and have grown to love everything about the browser and the unique way of doing things with it. Now all is lost.
There are no bookmarks, no Notes (and Copy to Note Feature, which I use like an alternative to Evernote), no sidebar and all sidebar features like tab grouping, links etc. There is no RSS reader, no option to customize the UI and buttons, no personalized shortcuts and mouse gestures, no auto-fill personal information manager, no cached images browsing, no per-site preferences, and no tab thumbnails. The Mail client has also been removed and made into a standalone program.
You also lose all the clever shortcut and tricks that made interacting with the browser and webpages easier such as Shift+click to open in new tab and Ctrl+click to open in new background tab, Ctrl+click on image to save, right-click+mouse wheel to switch tabs. All your speed dial customizations are lost, not to mention speed dial extensions.
The extensions framework has been reworked, which means old Opera extensions are no longer supported. At this point, Opera 15 supports only a subset of the Chromium extension APIs.
The developers attempt to assure users that “features missing from the first release of Opera based on Chromium will be evaluated and potentially re-instated in future releases”, but I wouldn’t hold my breadth.
If you want to get a taste of the disappointment, head over to Opera Next.