Fifteen years ago two young employees at Telenor (Norwegian phone company) began working on a new browser. Little did they know that in fifteen years that little project would soon becoming the pioneer of all modern web browsers – Opera. Although Opera never managed to grow beyond its status as a minority web browser, its contribution to modern web browsers is beyond doubt. Opera is behind many of the essential features of modern web browsers like integrated search bar, browsing sessions, rearrangeable tabs, full zoom, privacy manager, pop-up blocker and more. You can view a full list of Opera’s innovations here or just glance through Opera’s most popular innovations here.
Four years ago when Opera was celebrating its 10 years in existence (i.e. 10 years since completion of Opera v1) Opera’s CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner sat down and answered user queries through the official IRC channel. This time also he took the time to answer some questions from users. Couple of my questions which were answered are :
Q: Why hasn’t Opera developed an API yet, considering its the best thing about Firefox, its one of the first things Google promised to do with Google Chrome and is already available for Maxthon and Internet Explorer?
A:I guess your question is about extensions. We have focused on including as much as possible in Opera directly. Out of the box you will find more features in Opera than any other browser. You can also easily style Opera and expand it through UserJS and Widgets. However, this does not preclude us from adding new ways to expand Opera in the future.
Q:Recently Opera unveiled Opera Turbo. Its awesome for folks with slow internet connections. But how does Opera expect to get back the cost of servers required to keep this service running? Is this a financially viable project?
A:Thanks. I am glad you like Opera Turbo. I share your excitement with regards to what it enables.
We have managed to find ways to provide both Opera Desktop and Opera Mini for free. The goal is to provide Opera Turbo for free as well. We just need even more users of Opera…
He didn’t reveal much but hinted that minor tweaks in Opera skin and icon may be coming soon. Opera 10 is also likely to handle userjs better (I hope that means auto-userjs installation, built in userjs manager and an userjs gallery). You can read the full interview transcript here. Don’t forget to check out Opera’s Birthday Portal, which contains more interesting stuff like Jon Tetzchner’s account of Opera’s inception and road ahead and HÃ¥kon Wium Lie’s views on what to expect in the next 15 years.