Inside 'Unite': Opera's browser-server

Opera Software introduces a technical preview of Opera Unite, a component of its Opera 10 browser that can turn your computer into a Web server for personal Web hosting and file-sharing.

On Tuesday, Opera Software introduced a technical preview of Opera Unite, a component of its Opera 10 browser. Earlier this morning, I sat in on a Webcast where Opera's Chief Development Officer, Christen Krogh, ran through a demo and answered questions. Opera Unite, which uses your Opera ID to log in, is a Web server housed within the Opera browser. With it, you'll be able to host a Web site, and share files, music, video, notes, and chats with others.

The sharing process begins when you select the hard drive where your files are stored, and then select the individual files you'd like to share. You'll then set your sharing preferences--either public, private, or password-protected--and Opera Unite will create a direct URL, which you can share with others. Guests can view the content from any browser, not just Opera's.

Opera Unite doesn't yet extend to mobile phones and other Opera-powered browsers, but that will eventually be part of the plan.

Security has been a concern so far. Opera Unite is as secure as Opera Widgets, Krogh said. It features native apps running in a sandbox on top of Opera's Web browser, and using local storage. CNET's sister site ZDNet UK explores the security of Opera Unite in an article.

Opera Unite icon
When you load Opera 10 with Unite, you'll enable Opera Unite it by clicking this icon. (Credit: CNET)

Opera Unite shares similarities with the now-defunct AllPeers, an add-on for Mozilla's Firefox browser. While Mozilla hasn't announced intentions to build a similar sharing or hosting service, it is offering developers a chance to create more robust code packages using Mozilla Jetpack, a recent Labs project.

The technical preview version of Opera 10 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You should consider the software experimental; you may encounter bugs or other imperfections while using it. To see more detail about how it works, peer inside via our gallery of screenshots.

Open beta versions of Opera 10 browser that do not have Unite installed are available for Linux, Mac and Windows.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.