Windows/Mac/Linux: A new beta of the speedy, innovative Opera web browser is available for download, bringing a visual, expandable tab bar and tab previews, server-side compression for slow connections, and many more features to your desktop.
The biggest and most noticeable change for newcomers and Opera veterans alike will be the newest tab features, an area where Opera has long been an innovator and pack leader. The default view of your tabs is a series of rounded-off, text-only stubs between your menu and address bars. Grab and expand the divider below your tabs, though, and you get a customised view of visual tab previews, with buttons to close each of them and add another tab. Whether you use that vertical space or not, hovering over a tab with your mouse pointer now brings up a quick preview of the contents.
The other marquee feature in Opera 10 is its “Turbo Mode”. Users of Opera Mini and Mobile might recognise this technology, which uses Opera’s servers to compress images and graphical elements and speedily deliver them for browsers on slower connections. It won’t help much for those already on a broadband connection, and the browser will in fact warn you against using it if you try. For those stuck on flaky Wi-Fi or even dial-up connections, though, Turbo Mode could be a welcome respite from image loading eternities.
Other features worth crowing about in the 10 beta are more customisation features for the Speed Dial new tab page, a re-size-able search bar, default mail configuration for webmail services like Gmail and Hotmail, inline spell checking, and what Opera claims is a 40 percent faster rendering engine that’s specifically optimised for webapp sites like Facebook and Gmail.
Grab the beta and read up on the new stuff at the link below, and tell us what you think of Opera’s latest pre-release in the comments.