Opera browser sings

This speedy browser has the necessary features to compete with the big boys. The latest version adds a compression engine, visual customizations, and a neat tabbing interface enhancement.

Opera 10 maintains the program's tradition of striving for the fastest, smallest, and most full-featured browser available. Opera covers the basics with tabbed browsing, mouse-over previews, a customizable search bar, advanced bookmarking tools, and simple integration with e-mail and chat clients. Mouse-gesture support, keyboard shortcuts, and drag-and-drop functionality round out the essentials. Opera 10.52 marked the Mac debut of the Carakan JavaScript engine, which the publisher claims is 10 times faster than the previous version. Even in the middle of benchmarking tests, that claim doesn't seem far-fetched.

Opera 10.60 is a minor update to Opera 10.50, which introduced multiple new features. The biggest is one most users won't see: Opera's in-house anti-malware has been bolstered by AVG's real-time threat detection network. The browser uses it to force users to see a warning page when they try to load sites that the network determines are in some way malicious. Version 10.60 adds more HTML5 support, including the next-generation video and audio codec WebM, geolocation compatibility, Web Workers, and App Cache. More importantly, Opera 10.60 claims benchmark times that are 50 percent faster than Opera 10.50. Internal CNET testing revealed that this number was closer to 33 percent, but that's still a major improvement.

Opera's extras push it to among the top of the class. Opera's desktop widgets can appear anywhere, even after you close the browser, and Opera Turbo gives users on dial-up connections faster page-rendering speeds. There's Growl and multitouch touch-pad support, support for some HTML5 including the video tag, and Opera Unite--and its deep feature set for file sharing and streaming--is now available to Mac users. Meanwhile, Opera Link enables Bookmarks, the Personal bar, Speed Dial, and Notes synchronization across all other Opera instances, including the iPhone's Opera Mini. Quick Find has improved the search tool, allowing for full text searching from the address field, the history panel, and opera:historysearch. We're also fans of the new inline spell checker that supports 51 languages.

Opera has also finally received an autoupdater and integrated crash reporting. With its combination of speed and built-in services, Opera undoubtedly has what it takes to unseat even the biggest-name browsers. You just need to hear it sing.

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