Opera Pushes BitTorrent, Widgets In 9.0 Preview

Opera Software will release a preview of its next browser, Opera 9.0, on Tuesday with integrated support for BitTorrent downloads, and more new stuff. (Courtesy: TechWeb)

February 7, 2006

2 Min Read
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Opera Software will release a preview of its next browser, Opera 9.0, on Tuesday with integrated support for BitTorrent downloads, a dozen "widgets," and other enhancements to keep it competitive with rivals such as Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 1.5.

The Technical Preview, said Opera spokesman Thomas Ford, will post early Tuesday, Oslo time on a new Opera Labs Web site. "We're making the preview available so people can see what our newest technology can do," said Ford.

Users will be able to search for BitTorrent downloads using the Opera search field, said Ford; after they've selected a file, the download is processed by the browser's Transfer Manager, a feature similar to Firefox's Download Manager.

BitTorrent is an open source, peer-to-peer protocol for distributing files that uses the upstream bandwidth of every user to boost the speed of all downloads. This is the first time that BitTorrent has struck an agreement with a third party software maker to license its trademark.

The other major addition to Opera 9.0 is support for widgets, small Web-enabled applications that sit on the desktop and perform simple, one-task duties, such as deliver weather reports or news."They'll be very similar to the widgets you see in Apple's Mac OS X," said Ford, and to those developed for the Yahoo Widget Engine, which the portal and search site acquired from Pixoria in 2005.

"You have to have the [Opera] browser running to run the widgets," noted Ford, "although the browser window doesn't have to be open." He said that 10-12 Opera-created widgets would debut alongside the preview of 9.0.

Other improvements include a content blocker similar to the Firefox Adblock extension, thumbnail previews of tabs (akin to the Quick Tabs feature in Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview), and a customizable search engine field in the Opera toolbar.

A final date for the final version of Opera 9.0 has not been set, Ford said.

According to recent measurements by several Web metrics companies, Opera accounts for less than 1 percent of the global browser market.0

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