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Opera Neon concept browser (opera.com)
318 points by napolux on Jan 12, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 212 comments

This made me realize how little innovation there is in the browser space today. Opera used to innovate extensively before the sale, and it looks like at least they're trying to keep doing it. I'm also hopeful for Vivaldi. Chrome and Firefox are completely stagnant, unfortunately.

Ahh, the paradox of being the market leader.

Remember when Chrome tried to innovate with how we use bookmarks? [1]

People cry out for innovation, but then freak out when said innovation happens. This is why disrupters are so successful - they can do something crazy and people will try it out and think - this is amazing. Because the mindset/psychology is that this is something new. But the market leader implements exactly the same thing and people won't give it a chance because it's a change and they can't handle change.

But I actually disagree that they are stagnant. They may be hesitant to change the UI, but there is a lot happening under the hood to make them more secure, faster, standards compliant, stable etc.

[1] http://www.omgchrome.com/new-bookmark-manager-chrome-disable...

Edit - Adding an example of recent Firefox innovation being rejected https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/hello-status

Why does it have to be constantly changing? What some see as stagnant, others see as completeness

Honestly I don't want new features on Chrome or Firefox. They are fine how they are -- though I wish Mozilla would take out the value-added services they just had to add. Release security updates and that's it

With that attitude we would never see any progress with software though.

How much "progress" is really necessary?

asked the first human in a cave..

What if Chrome could give you a back massage though? Firefox cook you dinner?

Still don't want it, a human being is probably better at those things

But human beings are proprietary, with gaping security holes that are constantly being exploited by both government-actors and criminal organisations worldwide...

The bookmark manager is not a great example, in my opinion. There was massive outcry because there were major features missing and it was a major step back from a usability perspective.

They could have improved on it without forcing people to use another Google service too.

Didn't even noticed that change since using zeerka.com. At work I have to test the same bunch of web sites in a variety of browsers, so using each browser's bookmark manager would be really painful.

The solution is not to try to disrupt the main product but to artificially compete with it. Google could release a new, unbranded browser with all the experimental features.

Early adopters would flock to it, the comfortable majority would happily stick with what they know. Win win.

Except now Google would have to maintain TWO massively complex project.

Also they kind of just did what you suggested with Duo,Allo and Hangouts.

They only will if it proves worthwhile. Also, it can reuse components from Chrome where possible.

You can also make things optional and opt-in (at least for existing users). With browsers they can be extensions too, no need to shove it in everyone's face.

Firefox does this :-)

I'd add a few things. When you're number one, people expect jesus like miracles from you. If you don't deliver, backlash occurs. Chrome new bookmark felt too much like a simple material UX without much to it. I still miss Firefox fully featured bookmark manager. I also think there's also lots of things to do here but alas.. I'm not at Chrome.

>This is why disrupters are so successful - they can do something crazy and people will try it out and think - this is amazing. Because the mindset/psychology is that this is something new. But the market leader implements exactly the same thing and people won't give it a chance because it's a change and they can't handle change.

To play the devil's advocate, couldn't you argue that the reason the take-rate seems high is because only the people that want change are going to use the disrupter's thing, whereas those people represent a very small minority of people using the existing, uninnovative product?

Exactly. The market leader can still innovate; just don't force it on the large body of existing users before you've proven it with early adopters and given plenty of lead time for a transition, or the volume of complaints will drown out the excited interest from those early adopters.

For example, consider what Mozilla did when they first came out with Firefox. They didn't replace the main Mozilla browser; they built a new browser and offered it as an alternative. It took a long time for everyone to switch over, and that's completely OK.

Just because they're "trying to innovate" doesn't mean the ideas will be any good, though. Yes, inertia and resistance to the new are a thing, that doesn't mean bad ideas aren't :)

Opera has a well established history of innovating web browsing. So many features we consider normal and must-have in modern browsers were pioneered by Opera. The innovation kind of stopped and a lot of features disappeared when they fired the Presto team and switched to webkit, unfortunately.

Google on the other hand, has a well established history of developing a pretty great idea and then at some point begin making it shittier with each update.

This may be a bias of an old Opera fanboy / IMHO; If you consider innovative features, between Opera (frozen just before they ditched Presto), versus where Chrome has innovated and been developed to today--Developer tooling maybe, but from a user point of view? Nowhere even close. Especially if you consider what was taken away (but then, the entire Presto engine and many of its unique features were taken away too).

Opera has had more of a "Yes, and" approach to innovation, but still they (barely) managed to avoid the "kitchen sink" problem. Old features almost never went away. I used to think the built-in torrent client was unnecessary bloat, but in hindsight was that really a bad idea? Main problem was torrent protocol itself was a bit heavy for computers at the time, making it feel bloaty. Unlike the built in IRC client, which was just another lightweight browser tab unlike Chrome (or Firefox) could ever manage. Still, Opera was also famous for it's tiny executable size.

"removing list view" is not innovation.

Don't confuse innovation with what is nowadays called "streamlining".

> Adding an example of recent Firefox innovation

I think this is a poor example, this does nothing to make the browser better at browsing the web. It's just a feature no one asked for, that has loads of alternatives already. Why do I need video calling built in?

Chrome is semi-stagnant because it's dominant, which means not much drive to change.

I wouldn't call Firefox stagnant. It's just got E10S (multiprocess). The Quantum project promises to gradually improve both speed and stability (and consequentially security). They are working on replacing the traditional Firefox extensions archetecture with WebExtensions. Fennec (Firefox on Android) is an underappreciated gem.

I'm playing with Vivaldi now. It's nice, it's fast, there's a fair amount of UI innovation. But underneath, it's just Blink, so it's hard for me to get that excited about it.

Why do you care what the rendering engine is? It's literally the least exciting part. I never said "man, I wish this rendering engine ran different code". I've frequently said "I wish mouse gestures worked as well as Opera's did".

Fennec is pretty great, yes. I've been using Firefox on ideological grounds for years, and it's getting harder and harder. I currently have a tab open that will just keep loading forever every time I load the browser, taking 100% CPU, until I go and press escape to stop loading. It's slow as hell and frequently freezes.

Ideology can only take you so far if the product is a piece of crap.

You say

> Why do you care what the rendering engine is?

then later you say

> I currently have a tab open that will just keep loading forever every time I load the browser, taking 100% CPU, until I go and press escape to stop loading. It's slow as hell and frequently freezes.

Do you not see that those two things may be related?

Can you file a bug on this with the URL causing the problem? The tab not loading fully isn't necessarily our fault, but of course it shouldn't use 100% while doing that.

The rendering engine is fairly important for apparent speed and smoothness (e.g. with scrolling). These are issues where Firefox was traditionally not rated highly.

Done, thanks.

Do you mind linking to the bug report?

Thank you. I'll follow up there!

Are you in Firefox proper, or Nightly (just asking for a friend of a friend) ;)

Erm, I'm using Aurora, not sure if that's nightly or between stable and nightly... I don't think it's either.

Ah, mainly I just care that there's a diversity in rendering engines. A) to prevent stagnation, and B) to prevent a monoculture of vulnerabilities. I don't care that much about which rendering engine a given browser uses all that much.

About that particular tab (which I guess you're sending a bug report about), maybe you want to try the same URL in a fresh Firefox profile?

> I never said "man, I wish this rendering engine ran different code".

Then I guess you were never an IE6 user.

A lot of major extensions still turn off e10s, so no, it isn't here yet.

I don't need my browser to "innovate". It just needs to continue doing it what it does best - consistently render a presentation layer. All of the innovation should be under the hood (which it appears Chrome/Firefox have been doing)

So you don't use bookmarks or tabs?

Bookmarks and tabs are there already in all major OSS browsers.

Bookmarks and tabs are far from being easy, solved problems. For example adding a Firefox addon to display tabs vertically in a tree structure instead of a horizontal list has changed the way I use the internet (and I have always used a lot of tabs).

In the end tabs are just like booksmarks, except that they keep state during a browsing session. I find it very weird that we keep those very similar concepts in completely different UIs. There's a lot of room for improvement in that area.

> In the end tabs are just like booksmarks, except that they keep state during a browsing session.


I'd not say that there's no room for improvement WRT bookmarks and tabs, but this has nothing to do with the comment thread I responded to.

> For example adding a Firefox addon to display tabs vertically in a tree structure instead of a horizontal list has changed the way I use the internet

Sounds interesting, which extension would that be?

Yes, I'm using Tree Style Tabs.


They are "in" there, but they are very far from being perfect. Managing bookmarks is a constant pain, and most browsers don't even offer things as simple as watching if bookmark has gone bad, let alone any added-value services. Tabs are not spectacular either - I regularly keep dozens of tabs open, and no browser I've seen handles this scenario very well, most just show something like "ok, you've got a lot of tabs, guess which is which". Handling them better, separating by importance, supporting grouping etc. - haven't see it anywhere. I'm sure there are also other places browser experience could be improved.

tabs, but I use https://pinboard.in/

Why do you need bookmarks, either you google it again or can access it through some kind of chat... Tabs are nice though

in vivaldi you can ctrl-d to bookmark then shift-tab to set a shortcut name

in future you can just ctrl-t then shortcut name to go straight to bookmark.

yeah, it's bookmarks under the hood, but being able to just go 'ctrl-t' then 'webmail' or 'workmail' or whatever saves the convolutions of smartcomplete and autocomplete and displaying history or suggestions and such in the url bar.

^d in Firefox and Chrome also bookmarks the page

Both Firefox's awesomebar and Chrome's omnibox let you go to a shortcut by typing its name

Or use the browser history/read it later system

I used Vivaldi for a couple of months. Plenty of goodness, and one major showstopper: it's slow. It's so very sluggish and slow. Something as trivial as tearing a tab off a window would take several seconds. Switching between tabs was laggy as well, once there were many. Every other browser felt blazingly fast after that. That's a pity since this type of issues usually indicates some deeper design problems that won't be easily fixable.

Yes opening a new window is at least 3x slower than Chrome and tearing off a tab is like... a 2 sec delay.

But honestly I have no problems with "regular" browsing.

The features are good enough to live with the slowdown, as others have said Vivaldi can never be as fast as Chrome.

Yep, this is exactly my experience with Vivaldi. The feature set is really good, but I wish the performance was as good as Chrome.

Really? I'm on Vivaldi right now and everything is instant. I'm using it over Firefox just because how much faster it is. It's as fast as Chrome for me.

Vivaldi does not feel as fast as the old opera.

On some pages browsing would slow down to a halt while CPU usage would spike to 100%.

Nothing feels as fast as the old Opera :(

Vivaldi is a layer of Javascript on top of a cut-down chrome. You're right. It can't ever be faster than Chrome, nor really fast, for that matter.

This made me realize how little innovation there is in the browser space today.

I don't think that's true. There's lots of innovation, but it's in things that aren't necessarily obvious to the end user until there's decent levels of adoption by developers. Websites can access gamepads, advanced hardware-accelerated 3D, bluetooth, accelerometers, different layout engines, P2P data sharing, push notifications ... the UI that doesn't change very often, but that's only a tiny aspect of what a browser is.

> but it's in things that aren't necessarily obvious to the end user until there's decent levels of adoption by developers

Which ironically doesn't happen until browsers agree on innovation.

Whenever I've jumped ship, I've jumped to a simpler or faster version because the advances (at a perceived performance loss, or further UI changes).

Opera used to be really fast, but then it started to come with lots of other useless tools (email, bittorrent client tool) and try to be an internet package

So I jumped to Firefox which was simpler and Thunderbird was a separate client. Then that started to be clunkier, so I tried Chrome, which was faster.

Much like laptop getting thinner, the gains are in the wrong area.

What I want is a fast, secure browser that can remember history and bookmarks - everything else can be an add-on.

More like before tossing Presto and reskinning Chrome.

That said, this is perhaps the second time i have seen them unveil a concept browser for an Apple platform.

Really goes to show how big a fixture Apple is in web development. But then i hold that this can be attributed to when web development moved from the computing department to the media production department. As the latter had been a Mac stronghold since the intro of the original Mac in combo with Apple's laserwriter printer.

It's not just for Mac. On Windows or Linux, the page title is "Opera Neon concept browser for Windows".

Do you think users necessarily want much innovation in browsers?

What do you think would happen if Google changed the Chrome UI (the little there is) around?

Non-user visible innovation in browsers does happen BTW. But you dont't see it :-)

Nothing would happen, as long as they have UX professional on the team, who won't let them do stupid things like removing a backspace keyboard shortcut and not leaving options for those who got used to them.

It's a real shame they didn't have a UX professional on the team to tell them not to include backspace as a shortcut for back in the first place.

Although I believe that was Microsoft's fault, but Google shouldn't have copied it. I've lost more data to that than any web browser bug over the years. Fortunately Chrome had an extension that let me turn it off!

> I've lost more data to that than any web browser bug over the years.

Is the back that backspace goes back, or that the browser doesn't store text you've typed in a textarea?

The browser does store the text in the text area, but the text area disappears when you reload the page because you need to click a button that adds that element to the page.

Well that's the page's fault, we used to call that "breaking the back button / history". And apparently not enough people think that was big enough of a deal to stop doing it. Unfortunately.

And even Opera tried to keep that too, at least in many situations, to keep the history an actual history and you'd switch through snapshots of the DOM+state--at least that's what it felt like, I'm not sure that's what it really did, but I guess it helps with speed, too. A webpage generally isn't supposed to move or change at all unless you're interacting with it, so really after it's rendered, flipping through history or tabs should be instant, even on an old machine because it's just bitmaps, really. I remember a while ago there was an article here that sort of explained why this couldn't be done or didn't work for some reason, but it was a tradeoff to get some feature that, given the option no one in their right mind would trade for instant history and tab navigation.

Even if it's the page's fault, you still lose your text. At that point, you don't really care who to get angry at, do you? Which is why I always disable backspace for back navigation.

The old Opera rarely had this problem, it would usually cache the input text. So if you accidentally went 'backspace' or closed the tab entirely you could easily recover your data in most scenarios. One could argue it's the user's fault for losing data, because using a sub-par browser is a choice. Just my 2 cents.

What browser you're using is not always a choice, or your choice is limited. In the workplace many users do not have local admin or the ability to install arbitrary browsers.

These are indeed all things that have had great impacts on the respective browsers' marketshare. /s

I am really blown away by Vivaldi but I can't, sadly, start using a closed source browser. Browsers are an important (maybe the most important) programs today. I simply can't allow myself to get locked into a closed source browser today.

There's very little _user interface_ innovation in the major browsers today.

Honestly, I wish Firefox was more stagnant and less "let's clone Chrome's every misfeature, who needs the ability to modify the browser UI?".

> how little innovation there is in the browser space today

That was the purpose of Chrome, I believe, to monopolize the browser market and make it very expensive for others to compete and innovate google's business model out of existence.

What does that even mean? They're sparing a potential competitor the entire R&D cost of a modern, cross-platform browser. I don't think Google developed Chrome out of sheer altruism but it's probably cheaper now to compete in the browser space than ever. It's unlikely to be profitable, though, in itself.

it's probably cheaper now to compete in the browser space than ever

In the browser space, yes. In the API and platform space, no. Every other browser has already resigned to just "do what Chrome does" instead of expecting Chrome to confirm to the standards as written.

Do you not see how this is a huge hedge for Google? You control the platform and APIs, you rule the world.

Microsoft used to understand this very well.

On top of that, if you have to compete in the browser space by forking off of Google's rendering engine and web platform, you're always going to be behind.

Do you not see how this is a huge hedge for Google? You control the platform and APIs, you rule the world.

Why do you think I don't see that?

On top of that, if you have to compete in the browser space by forking off of Google's rendering engine and web platform, you're always going to be behind.

Why? That's certainly not what happened with Google's browser.

Why? That's certainly not what happened with Google's browser.

Because they can outspend you in engineering resources to push forward, and working with someone elses stack is a burden, not a blessing, if the other side moves more quickly (and forces you to rebase).

I don't remember arguing that developing a modern browser is cheap - I'm responding to the strange notion that the availability of a full open source browser from Google somehow makes things harder for competitors. It doesn't. And, again, as to forking - Apple created a competitive browser by forking an opensource project, Google created another one forking Apple's. This is demonstrably a viable and arguably more effective way of developing a browser.

That means Chrome is a very important strategic asset for Google, perhaps their most important one that end users can run. Imagine there was no Chrome and say FF held 70% of the browser market share. They'd would hold Google by the balls, and could do stuff like: Nag the user to use their search engine/mail suite, have bugs that kill Google products, delay features that'd be very important to Google (e.g. webm),...

I don't think that addresses my question. How did Google developing Chrome 'monopolize the market' or make it 'very expensive for competitors', the claims the person I'm replying to was making (if I understood them right, which I wasn't entirely sure of to begin with)

On what can you compete with Chrome using their own engine?


Features built into the browser that, currently, you use Google services for, which you wouldn't have to go through them for any more if they're built in?

What if, for example, a browser came out with orders of magnitude better ad-blocking built in? That browser could run Blink, benefiting from Google's engine, but directly undercut their business.

In fact, isn't that exactly what Brave[1] is? A Blink based browser that blocks ads and trackers, and includes their own payments platform for micropayments. I see at least a couple conflicts with Google there.

Or, hell, even just a Blink based browser that defaults to Bing search.

[1]: https://brave.com

Is that thanks to Google or thanks to Apple?

I think a conversation about innovation and competition in the browser space is interesting. A conversation about apportioning gratitude, not at all.

Call me an old fart, but I am completely satisfied with the way Firefox works now, at least in terms of UI. Sure, replace Gecko with Quantum if you will, upgrade the javascript engine, but please don't fuck up the UI.

chrome's dev tools are anything but stagnant but the browsing experience has not innovated much.

Boy oh boy, I dunno about that, particularly Chrome.

Off course Firefox is stagnant. The the Mozilla board is floating in money and has no reason to change things.

The little work that gets done is done by skunkworkers, volunteers or third party projects.

edit: see for yourself https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10101637

I am generally pretty hesitant to change browsers, but I actually really like the feel of this. It's super clean and the keyboard shortcuts are the same as what I'm used to so it seems like it should be an easy switch. Definitely something worth looking at. I'll probably try this out over the next few weeks.

My only gripe so far is that when I click command+w, I want it to default to closing the window when I am on the blank search page (i.e. where the browser goes by default when you open up a new window), but it only seems to close the window if you have a page loaded.

EDIT: This isn't a big deal. You can close the window in that case with command+shift+w, but the behavior feels inconsistent to me (that the window closes with just command+w when a page is loaded, but otherwise you need shift).

One thing that bites me occasionally with the current browsers is when I'm closing a lot of tabs with cmd-w but go too far and accidentally close the last one and loose the window. Windows close with cmd shift w so this behavior makes sense to me.

I like your attention to those shortcuts though I think we have similar standards:)

In a few apps on the Mac I have made good use of the Keyboard Shortcuts part of System Preferences to prevent this.

If destructive behavior is a bit too "easy" in an app, I remap the command to something complex. I think my Quit in Firefox for instance is now command-shift-control-Q or something.

Command shift T will bring back a window that has been closed (at least of Mac, I'm sure there's some macro on Windows).

It's CTRL-SHIFT-T on Windows but same idea.

The three browsers I use have command shortcuts that undo the accidental window closures.

Though I have to wonder how much resources are taken by the undo feature.

> accidental window closures

Really? Not just tabs. The danger is you have 5 tabs open, you only want one of them but you accidentally close all of them, now you've lost the window with the tab you wanted.

I'm not ek750, but this is true for both of the browsers I use regularly. In Chrome on OS X, Cmd+Shift+T reopens the last-closed tab, whether it was in a different/closed window or the one that is currently focused. In Firefox on Linux, Ctrl+Shift+T restores the last-closed tab in the currently focused window, and Ctrl+Shift+N restores the last-closed window.

I have both of these browsers configured to save my sessions and start from where I left off when I quit the application entirely. Both of them persist my closed tab/window history between sessions as well, so I can for example close my way out of 15 tabs across 2 windows, then reboot my laptop, then when I start my browser it will reopen whatever tabs/windows I didn't explicitly close and if I want to restore the ones I closed before the reboot I can use the restore shortcut(s) to get them back.

OK, I'm giving it a roll. First impression: very positive. It's notably great on touch screens. The "tabs" and buttons are nice and big - no more accidentally closing a tab I meant to open by fat-fingering it. It brings back a bit of the UX goodness that was IE11 on Windows 8 (before you snark, IE11, despite its terrible engine, had a fantastic fullscreen mode in Windows 8 with fantastic UX for touch, which got removed in Windows 10).

It doesn't seem to support extensions so I can't replace my normal Opera with it - that's a shame, I would've.

The fluffy floaty icon bubble is a great start screen. Remove all the advertised nonsense sites and pin your favourites there (it was easy to discover how) and somehow I find finding stuff easier than it was in Opera classic's Speed Dial page. On first impression, at least.

The chrome does take a fair amount of screen real estate though. Not sure I'd need the address bar to be so big and present.

The full-screen IE11 experience on early-generation Surface models was fantastic. Yes, IE11 had a meager JavaScript engine and several rendering quirks, but it was exceptionally quick at plain HTML, CSS, SVG. It used GPU acceleration for rendering earlier than other browsers; animation and scrolling were silky smooth. And that tablet-oriented UI was top notch.

It's a shame it was removed in Edge on the desktop/tablet. I would figure Edge could provide it as an option and maybe even optionally enable it when Windows 10 is switched to its "tablet mode." Maybe some day.

Incidentally, the same touch UI still exists in Edge on Windows 10 Mobile.

Split screen mode is such a good idea and I wonder why other browsers haven't implemented that yet. Would make devices like Chromebooks a lot more productive to me.

window management is the operating system's job, not the browser's. you can do split screen in any browser by putting two windows beside each other.

That's true but there are counter examples:

For instance, I'm very thankful that my text editor and terminal allow me to split panes within their window rather than through multiple instances handled by the OS. I seem to prefer having panes/tabs vs window instances when alt-tabbing. Especially if I have two browsers splitting my viewport and a couple full sized browsers. This makes it very annoying to alt-tab only between the two half screened browser windows. On OS X anyway.

I actually tried using OS X's full split screen, but that creates a new virtual desktop. And even with reduced motion (which helps a lot avoiding headaches when working on multiple windows), it's still too slow/animated for me to switch between my virtual desktop with split screen browsers and other virtual desktops with editors/terminals etc.

Finally, what's nice about split panes vs window instances is resizing. Resizing one pane resizes the others. Whereas resizing one window does not resize the others (at least not on OS X's default floating windows. But even something like Spectacle. Someone knows of a tiled window manager that resizes all windows when resizing one btw ? Looking for something like dwm for os x)

Isn't that an argument for better window management, not redoing it in a slightly different way in every single application?

Of course, putting better window management in the OS would require the OS to offer hooks for 'new tab' etc, and then all the applications would have to be changed to use that facility instead of their own, which isn't particularly likely to happen any time soon.

Yeah, sounds what he really needs is i3.

There are a few window managers for macOS that do what you want. I recommend kwm.


While you have a point, I think there are plenty of examples where application managed multi-panes are useful.

* Emacs (and other text editors) * IDEs * Terminals * etc...

Man, if I found a browser that gave me expressive enough keyboard shortcuts to make using a mouse optional (like Emacs) I would be switch to it in a heartbeat. Heck, Emacs style pane management and buffer switching might be enough.

Perhaps you'll like Vimperator.


Vivaldi has already had this feature [0] for a while.

[0]: https://vivalditips.com/efficiency/tab-tiling

La plus ça change, la plus la même chose.

(Happy Vivaldi/former Opera user here; it's bittersweet to see that Vivaldi seems to have truly taken the "had it first" mantle from Opera.)

EDIT: though on closer inspection, Neon's tiling feature seems different from Vivaldi's. Vivaldi's is tiling within a tab (actually a tab group); Neon's tiling seems to be at window-level. To me, Vivaldi's is more useful, as Neon's I can replicate in my window manager.

Would be even better if you could have incognito tabs in there as well

Chromebooks can do split screen mode. But over the years, the extent and capability has gone up and down from feature-rich and complicated to simple-and-uninnovative.

I forget what it is like now.

I really like the concept, and I want to use it in full-screen mode (to make it feel more like a first-level OS experience even if it isn't), but sadly once you open a website in full-screen, the rest of the browser chrome goes away. Of course there are times when I'd want it that way, but there should probably be a separate option for full-screen with the browser chrome.

I know this is basically just an early prototype, so I can't really be critical. If anything, it's just such an effective and impressive prototype that I already want to adopt it for daily use :)

So this is my problem too but somehow I've managed to do it.

I've went into the Mission Control state and dragged the Neon app into a new screen. It was a pleasant full-screen experience with only the app full-screen and not an individual tab, which is what I expect from the full-screen mode.

Problem is when I tried it again, it didn't work. Not sure what's wrong but this is a newly released software so I'm sure they'll fix it.

Apart from that, it's really amazing. I especially LOVED the media control features.

edit: Got it now. Go into the full-screen mode when there no active tabs. Works perfectly after that.

For anyone hoping for a Presto revival it's Chrome under the hood:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_12_2)
    AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko)
    Chrome/53.0.2785.21 Safari/537.36 MMS/1.0.2459.0

Opera moved to webkit in 2012 (2013?) and then to Blink soon after googles announcement.

They moved to Blink the day of the announcement. They knew it was coming before it was announced.

does this mean they are using webkit, chrome and mozilla under the hood for rendering pages? All 3?

What is the benefit? If a page is designed for Chrome then Opera could render it as intended and not how Webkit might render it, which could be wrong?

No, it means that they're using Blink.

User agents are confusing things now. Everyone says they're Mozilla, and have done since pretty much the dawn of the web (Netscape, IE, everyone). WebKit claims to be Gecko. Etc.

Why? Because many websites used to look at your user agent and serve you a different version of the page to try and give you the best experience. So new browsers, or improved browsers, started pretending to be other browsers so that they could get these versions of the pages and not the one for their release from three years ago.

Eventually you ended up with a mess because everyone claims to be everyone else.

Which is why friends don't let friends sniff for user agents.

No. Their rendering engine is pure Blink. All browsers' user agent's contain mentions of more or less every browser that ever existed for historical compatibility reasons.

Safari uses Webkit (a fork of KHTML), Opera and Chrome use Blink (a fork of Webkit), Firefox uses Gecko.

Except on iOS where all browsers are forced to use a crippled version of Webkit.

The User Agent is no reliable way to determine or asses that, it can be set to anything. It's mainly there for compatibility reasons and to ensure you don't get caught in the remaining few User-Agent white/blacklisting policies that some institutions employ.

This makes a little more sense for what I saw with the downloads history when I installed it.

But I was also very confused because it was listing a lot of local files that weren't accessed by my chrome install, and seemed to have links to things like Skype messages, etc.

Overall it's a cute design remake of the web, but I'm not sure it's really much more than just reinventing the wheel for display. I did like the idea of the player section, but I felt it didn't really do what I would expect from something that gets its own section. It's basically just a collection of all the tabs that are playing media, which is nice I guess (it's the next evolution I suppose of the speaker icon on tabs), but I'd love it if the browser could break convention and just load the media content and keep that live in the section and leave the rest of the page alone. In my mind, this would be great for sites with live-update content that you don't want to be constantly spamming stuff and instead just pull the media you want.

It is most likely Blink under the hood[1], but the user agent doesn't give you any information on that subject.

This is Edge's user agent:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/42.0.2311.135 Safari/537.36 Edge/12
It's almost the same except the MMS/number being replaced by Edge/number, and Edge is using a totally different engine than Chrome.

[1] business-wise I don't see any good reason to revive a engine dead for 4 years (Presto) or even worst, develop a brand new one.

In a hilarious twist, when trying to download Opera Neon for Windows with Opera for Windows, the download is blocked:


Isn't that your local antivirus? I know that's how that works in chrome.

That's from Opera. See http://help.opera.com/opera/Windows/1781/en/private.html

"If you are browsing on an encrypted connection (https://), Opera checks to ensure that all parts of the site are encrypted. If Opera detects that any live elements of the page, for example scripts, plugins, or frames, are being served by an open connection (http://), it will block the insecure content. This means parts of the page may not display properly.

Opera advises against allowing insecure content to load into an encrypted connection. The best way to protect your sensitive information is to interact only with secure content. When Opera detects insecure content and blocks it, a warning will appear in the right side of the combined address and search bar.

If you do not care about the security of your connection with the site, you can click the warning to show an Unblock button. This button will allow the blocked content to be loaded onto the page, and the security badge will change to show an open padlock, reminding you that you've allowed insecure content to display on an encrypted connection."

Worked fine for me, likely something external to the browser is the cause.

They changed the download link to https. The warning and block is from Opera itself. See http://help.opera.com/opera/Windows/1781/en/private.html

"If you are browsing on an encrypted connection (https://), Opera checks to ensure that all parts of the site are encrypted. If Opera detects that any live elements of the page, for example scripts, plugins, or frames, are being served by an open connection (http://), it will block the insecure content. This means parts of the page may not display properly. Opera advises against allowing insecure content to load into an encrypted connection. The best way to protect your sensitive information is to interact only with secure content. When Opera detects insecure content and blocks it, a warning will appear in the right side of the combined address and search bar. If you do not care about the security of your connection with the site, you can click the warning to show an Unblock button. This button will allow the blocked content to be loaded onto the page, and the security badge will change to show an open padlock, reminding you that you've allowed insecure content to display on an encrypted connection."

Worked fine for me, Opera Developer Edition?

Simply shows that their teams are not in sync with security policies or they don't have one.

Probably just an oversight or a typo. They've now changed the link to https.

Opera 12: http://i.imgur.com/ItevlTB.png

Just saying...

I switched from Chrome to Opera a couple of weeks ago and I don't see myself switching back. Little details make the difference: Better ram and battery consumption ( for now ), better tab management, integrated ad blocker and turbo mode when I'm using my phone as a hotspot ( living in a country with awful internet, it's really useful for basic browsing ). And as it's chromium inside, it's compatible with Chrome extensions.

Interesting bubbly new browser! Just the blog post says: "Some new features you won’t have seen in a browser before: (...) A vertical, visual tab bar on the right side of the browser window that makes it easier to distinguish between tabs." Really? I use it everyday in Vivaldi Browser :)

And it was in "their" own Opera 12 as well.

So should one be concerned about private data ex-filtration since Opera is now owned by a Chinese consortium [0]? This is a major reason why I gravitate towards Vivaldi inspite of being an Opera power user back in it's heyday.

[0] http://tech.eu/brief/group-chinese-firms-acquire-opera-softw...

Probably in the same way you should be if you're keeping your files on Dropbox.

I was beginning to like Opera (again) right before it got acquired by a Chinese company. But then I saw how they ruined the Opera Max [1] app, and so I expect the same to happen to the Opera browser in the near future.

[1] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/10/31/opera-max-turns-nagw...

If you want to experiment with a new browser that also uses Chromium and has native ad-blocking, try Brave:


I don't understand why everyone hates add so much, I understand that excessive adverts are bad, ads are the reason that the Internet is what it is now, if we hadn't had ads to monetize content, then everything would cost money + be inside paywalls.

This is a really neat concept that seems to be inspired by some of the mobile browsers out there. Flynx, Flyperlink and Link Bubble all use the (facebook-chathead-style) bubbles that sit over other apps and the UI. They are very convenient on mobile and allow you to do other things, while pages are loading. In my opinion, this browser consumes too much screen space with the browser windows being smaller windows inside the Neon container. I would prefer if they ditched the outermost container window and let the bubbles handle the hiding/moving of the browser, like the mobile browsers I mentioned above. Maybe there is a bubble that lives in the top right that sucks up and hides all browser bubbles and interface elements, then invokes them all when the user wants to show the browser again. I welcome any experimentation and innovation in the browser space. I do really like the idea of easily-tiling browser windows. In the future, I would love to be able to adjust the size and padding of the bubbles to allow more viewing space in the browser windows.

The original Opera had cascading, individual windows within the browser, before switching to tabs. They have sort of come full circle.

I currently use opera as my primary browser, but I really miss the tab spaces that Firefox had. I feel like the bubble concept provides a great opportunity for pinned bubble groups that contain groups of websites that I use together. I could have a meta bubble for sites that I use specifically for work, or for my favorite news sites.

I thought it was interesting that they specify the Desktop Wallpaper is free.

I wondered if anyone had ever paid for desktop wallpaper: apparently people do http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=desktop+wallpaper&LH_Com...

I wonder if I could write a script to sell royalty free wallpaper on ebay, if all the sellers have the rights to the images they are selling, and what kind of person pays for wallpaper.

> what kind of person pays for wallpaper.

Non-technical users. I think that technical users often forget how lucky we are that we can make the assumption that often good, and sometimes even the best, tools are free.

A user once asked me if subscribing to our newsletter — with announcements about our software releases — was free. Since then I added "free" ("Subscribe to our free newsletter") to every subscribe form I designed.

> I wondered if anyone had ever paid for desktop wallpaper

For a while Windows 10 was basically a free OS supported by wallpaper micro transactions.

No source, no deal (let alone no Linux support). With projects like Vivaldi and now this, are we really heading back to the dark ages of non-portable closed source browsers?

Before leaping to vehement criticism (as I almost did), recall that Opera's market includes televisions and video games. A physics engine for browser chrome and a name-recognizable designer actually make some sense here.

Still missing the old Opera though - I use neither televisions nor game consoles.

-- http://www.operasoftware.com/press/releases/devices/giving-g...

Opera's embedded browsers still use Presto. I wonder if this is an attempt to replace that.

I like how this feels, but sadly without 1Password and AdBlock I can't consider using it for now.

It looks like it's running pretty much on the same tech as normal opera and chrome. Here's to hope that extensions are coming soon!

/edit: looks like extensions is still available in the menu, it just doesn't resolve to anything.

Why for Mac? It seems to be available for Windows too, at least?

When on the download page for Mac it doesn't mention Windows download anywhere. I assume OP doesn't realise it's available for Windows, I didn't realise at first either.

Very basic (no extensions and thusly no adblocker, no LastPass, no mouse gestures etc.), but it's a concept version, I get it. Certainly worth considering as a light-weight browser number 2 for me. I like it as a fresh take at browser UX design that's been more or less settled for a while now.

This is what Microsoft Edge should be doing (innovating) and not just trying to cram in Microsoft services like OneNote. Honestly Edge is still such an awful browser and it is the default browser in Windows 10 which has been out for 18+ months now. Shocking.

I wouldn't call it horrible, but starting from their promised solution (IE without all the crap; lightweight + innovative) not much is delivered. The browser feels buggy and slow and I do not see much innovation.

SVG brakes badly in Edge , I check all the time , they'll run fine in Chrome and Firefox but not Edge !

I see a lot of C++ books in the background :)

So many of these new features seem like really they should be window manager features. I am a user of tabs but I occasionally think they also should really be a feature of the window manager and not the browser.

If you want to download it while using another OS you can actually use their download link and just edit the last part of the URL string with the destination OS name.[1]

I've actually tried from windows using the 'mac' parameter and it actually downloads .dmg extension, I don't think there's a linux version at the moment.

[1]: http://www.opera.com/computer/thanks?ni=stable_neon&os=mac

Yes I read their blog about it they do not release linux version.

Well this is kinda cool. I wouldn't use it (in its current state anyway), but it's cool. It seems like they're trying to turn a browser in to a type of desktop, kinda like Chrome OS I guess. My first impressions though are the left sidebar is incredibly unresponsive, and both the left and right sidebar need to be able to be hidden so the browser window isn't so small.

A closed source browser owned by the Chinese? No chance.

Completely agree even if it's downvoted

I use Opera as my main browser right now because I want a webkit browser without google using it to spy on me. Glad to see they're still innovating

Does Opera collect data on users?

Also, what about Brave?

Maybe Opera collects data on users, I don't know. Probably. Maybe I'm naive but I trust them more than Google.

I'd forgotten all about brave since the launch, must try it out.

Both brave and opera have built in ad blockers. I admire the effort but in practice the opera one is not as good as ublock. Ublock blocks ads but also blocks trash like taboola, which is not technically advertising, but is far more insidious.

And ublock is available for opera, not sure about brave. Must try it today

It reminded me of LinkBubble, and android application to open links in a background webview, see the loading progress and have them accessible as a floating bubble while doing something else.


The in-browser split is good. The tab -> home too. The presentation is sub par to me, wasteful and cut for no reason.

Good ideas, pretty sure all browsers could copy that quickly but still, good ideas from Opera.

Mods, can we get the title changed? It's for Windows too (and maybe Linux, I can't verify that).

I downloaded it. It's... interesting. It may be a few days before I have a real opinion of it, though.

Tried it out, app stopped responding within two minutes of use. Had to force quit. I think I'll wait for it to mature a bit before trying again.

They should bring this to tablets! Tabs on the side would be a natural fit -- your fingers naturally rest near the side of the touchscreen.

Or just get a Windows tablet / 2-in-1 :-)

I just want a browser that I can use without taking my fingers away from the home row, but I guess I'm in the minority of users.

This Firefox add-on helps with one such issue, navigating tabs:

* Single Key Tab Switch


I configured mine to use Vim navigation keys (h for left, l for right). As long as the focus isn't in an input field, it works great.

I like the screen-cap utility. All the rest seems useless, knowing that people already litter their desktops with a million icons.

The screen-cap utility is the most useless thing they have to offer, as it'll inevitably recompress stuff that already had been compressed. It would be much more useful to have a tool to actually get you the link of the image you're seeing no matter how much the site tries to hide it.

But why duplicate the screen-cap utility already available on your OS (which works exactly the same way)? Do I not get it?

It does save the original URL with the screenshot, which I guess is convenient. I prefer Firefox's version which lets you snap individual elements precisely, but it's hard to use. ("Inspect element", then right-click the node and "screenshot node".) They do have an experimental first-party extension called Page Shot that makes this easier to use, and adds full-text search to boot! https://testpilot.firefox.com/

vivaldi has a screencap facility as well that will capture the whole web page or just selections of it. it's a fairly recent addition. prior to that it would take screencaps when record notes about a site but only the current viewframe.

I don't understand vertical tab bars at all. Why not give an option to change it to horizontal?

Also, seems quite resource heavy.

The line length of readable text is quite limited, yet our monitors are wider than they are high. Since websites still contain a lot of text they profit more from getting the full screen height than from getting the full screen width. Hence vertical tab bars.

I'm not a fan of the giant pictures they use as representations of tabs when my tab bar fits ~40 tabs in one screen height. But I guess that heavily depends on user preference.

Snap-to-gallery is an awesome feature addition for casual users, and I'd use it but-for having a Snagit license.

This doesn't make sense until the browser and the OS shell are combined into one thing.

They didn't use the Macbook pro with the touchpad in the video :P

Try clicking on the lock icon in the address bar, very neat!

That's default Chromium behaviour :)

I don't have site specific permissions showing in the other chromium based browsers I use, like this:


That's new to me

That's been in chrome for a quite a long time now I believe.

On Google Chrome i get the exact same thing.

Very nice ideas on this!! I love it!

Neon is fast compared to Chrome.

Funny how they are using Mac in their demo video, while the browser only supports Windows.

The browser supports both platforms, just shows you a OS-specific site based on what you're on.

I'm running it on a Mac right now.

It does behave oddly when in full screen though.

That logo is BRUTAL.

The caption to https://www.xkcd.com/934/ is finally coming true.

Wow. You can open websites with icons. And you can take screenshots.

Pretty amazing.

(There might be more to Neon, of course, but if there is, the video is horrible in showing it off).

Why start with snarky sarcasm if you admit there might be more to it than the video? There's also a bunch of copy on the page if you scroll past the video.

* The tabs are represented by little screenshots; nice for navigating. Yet to determine how this scales with MANY tabs (I see, it scrolls vertically... hrm)

* The split screen is pretty cool; many times I need to work between two tabs and alternating between them in Chrome is generally a pain

* Videos can be played outside of the tab; cool if you want to continue browsing while having a video visible (think tutorial while visiting documentation pages)

* All the dev tools are seemingly available – sweet

* The page URL and title are big and nicely visible

* It looks awesome for touch. I don't have a touch laptop though :(

* Screenshots ... meh. I use OSXs built-in tools.

As opposed to the font of amazing usability innovations that are Chrome, Safari and Firefox?

I'll take something over nothing any day.

Seem to effectively be a continuation of their Coast browser on iPhone.

On Windows, the page title is "Opera Neon concept browser for Windows".

Maybe rename to [for Mac and Windows]?

Or maybe take out the operating system

If you look at the page with $OS it looks like there is only a version for $OS available. I can see how that might lead to headlines like this. I also initially assumed it was a mac-only app.

In Chrome on Linux it reads "Opera Neon concept browser for Windows"

... with no mention of Mac. So the point is still valid.

If there was a version for Minix, now that would be newsworthy!

On Linux, it says for Windows too, with no mention of the Mac version (and presumably no Linux version exists)

I guess they just have an `echo (if os == mac then "Mac" else "Windows")`

Thanks! We've updated the title.

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