While Google Chrome is probably the most popular web browser in the world (and not without reason), it can't be everything for every user. In fact, the mobile version has never supported ad blockers, the presence of which has been a major selling point for competitors like Opera, DuckDuckGo, Brave and Ghostery.
Today, Opera's ad blocker got an update that's friendlier toward advertisers, and version 50 for Android also brings support for picture-in-picture video, plus a tool to rapidly scroll down a long web page. As before, this release is based on Chromium, which is what Google uses to build its Chrome browser.
By default, Opera's ad blocker will continue to block just as much as it used to. The difference now is that the user has the option to "whitelist" specific websites. When you tap on the padlock icon in the upper left, a menu will pop up asking you if you want to exclude the site you're looking at from ad blocking.
There are two ways to undo this change. The main way is to have the whitelisted website loaded in Opera, and then tap the padlock and then the "Exclude from ad blocking" slider. But of course, if you start doing this with a number of websites, or if you stop using Opera for a while, you may forget who you're excluding.
To see your list of excluded sites, tap on the red "O" button in the bottom right, then Settings, then Ad Blocking, then Excluded Sites. Unfortunately, you can't delete specific websites on this list; the trash can button will delete the whole list. But you can at least see which sites are listed, and then go to them to adjust your ad blocking settings.
Hopefully a future version of Opera for Android will add the ability to manage specific sites from within this exclusion list.
In other news, Opera also has support for picture-in-picture videos now, so you can stream a video in a small window while you surf the web in the main browser window. The YouTube mobile app (download for iOS or Android) has had this feature for some time, but it's nice to see other apps supporting the feature for other streaming services.
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Last but not least, version 50 of Opera for Android also now has a rapid vertical scrolling tool. When you start to scroll, a small button will pop up near the top left of the screen, and you can drag that button up and down to scroll at an accelerated speed.
Note that this scrolling tool may not work correctly on websites that use a "waterfall" method to add more content as you navigate down the page.
- Version 50 of the Opera browser for Android is out now, with support for picture-in-picture video, rapid page scrolling and an updated ad blocker.
- The new ad blocker lets you enable ads for specific websites that you want to support. Just tap on the green padlock in the upper left to see your options.
- Privacy-focused Brave browser officially switches to Chromium
- DuckDuckGo now integrates Apple Maps into its search engine results
- Ghostery announces premium subscription version of ad-blocking browser extension
- Microsoft staffer riles Firefox faithful by telling Mozilla to embrace Chrome (CNET)
- Opera desktop browser gets a new look, dark theme gets darker (ZDNet)
- Version 2.0 brings Vivaldi web browser inline with the competition (TechRepublic)