Opera is a venerable browser and popular alternative, Opera shares much of Chrome’s DNA. Both browsers are built on Google’s open-source Chromium engine, and, as a result, they have a very similar user experience. Both feature a hybrid URL/search bar, and both are relatively light and fast.
The differences appear when you look at Opera’s built-in features. Where Chrome relies on an extension ecosystem to provide functionality users might want, Opera has a few more features baked right into the browser itself. It also introduced a predictive website preload ability, and an Instant Search feature isolates search results in their separate window while the current page fades into the background — letting users more easily focus on the research task at hand.
You can install extensions from the Opera Add-ons store, just like Chrome. Similar to Google’s browser, you’ll find useful tools like Giphy, Amazon Assistant, Avast Online Security, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more. If Chrome’s wide variety of extensions is important to you, then Opera becomes an intriguing alternative. It might just be one of the best browsers for quickly navigating web pages.
Opera also features a built-in “Stash” for saving pages to read later. There’s no need to sign up for a Pocket or Evernote account to save a page for later reading. Similarly, Opera features a speed dial menu that puts all your most frequently visited pages in one place. Chrome also does this but only on a blank new tab. Finally, Opera has a built-in unlimited VPN service, making it a more secure option.
The biggest changes came with Opera 60 and Reborn 3, a complete revamp of the browser’s design that brought a new borderless design, Web 3 support, and a Crypto Wallet allowing users to prepare for blockchain-based sites. With version 69, Opera became the first browser with a built-in Twitter tool. Just click the icon on the toolbar, log in to your account, and tweet away right from within the slide-out menu.
You can see that we’re well into hair-splitting territory, which is why it’s important to remember that your choice of browser is, more than any other service or app you use each day, entirely dependent on your personal preferences — what feels most right for you. Opera has a unique look and feel, and it combines some of the best features of Firefox and Chrome.
Opera is really one of the more under-rated browsers around. It comes with a built-in VPN—though we don’t recommend using it. It also has built-in ad and tracker blocking, a snapshot tool, a unit converter for time zones and currency, and the mobile versions of Opera come with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.
Opera also has its own take on the social sidebar with one-click access to services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram. Like Chrome and Firefox, Opera also has cross-device syncing features.
The Opera browser is reborn thanks to the power of messaging. Opera (the company) recently announced that the latest version of its browser is adopting some messaging features from Neon, an experimental version of Opera. The new features include built-in support for Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and WhatsApp in Opera 45.
There’s nothing particularly special about Opera’s versions of the messaging programs. WhatsApp is just WhatsApp Web that everyone already uses, while clicking the Facebook Messenger takes you to Messenger.com.
What’s different about Opera’s approach is that the messaging web apps don’t open in a new tab. Instead, the messengers appear in a panel that pops out from the browser’s left rail.
The messaging panel can either overlay the current webpage you’re looking at or be pinned to the browser. When pinned, your messaging apps appear side-by-side with the current webpage you’re viewing. You can only view one pinned messaging app at a time, but pinning one of them pins them all.
By default, Opera shows the Messenger and WhatsApp icons when you enable the new messaging feature. Telegram can be added by clicking on the Opera menu icon and going to Settings > Sidebar > Manage sidebar.
The story behind the story: There’s nothing particularly new about Opera’s built-in messaging features. Their have been several cautionary tales of social browsers that went pretty much nowhere including RockMelt and Flock. Both those browsers attempted to integrate full Facebook and Twitter feeds with the browser, whereas Opera is focused on messaging. Still, social sidebars are not exactly revolutionary, and there is yet to be a browser that convinces users that this is the way to go.
In addition to the new messaging features, Opera 45 adds new light and dark themes, and on Windows the browser will use the GPU more often for video decoding. Opera says this should mean “significantly higher framerates, higher resolutions, and lower battery usage for these videos.” Perfect for watching all those 60fps videos on YouTube.
To install Opera on your system head to our Installation Guide for install steps.