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back to article Opera embraces Google's open source JPEG killer

Opera has released a new incarnation of its desktop browser – Opera 11.10, aka Barracuda – improving the speed of its Turbo traffic-compression service and expanding its SpeedDial interface to provide quick access to an unlimited number of your favorite sites. If you use the latest version of SpeedDial, you're required to …

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And very nice it is too

Webp is compelling in its size/quality over JPEG.

11.10 includes some nice HTML5 goodies and CSS3 stuff.

Unfortunately, a few regressions also slipped in - I have problems with some e-mail services and the NotScripts add-on does not work with this release- but if you don't use TLS with your e-mail you're not likely to notice.

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No probs here.

No TLS IMAP problems here, working fine as always,

I'm guessing the NotScript will be updated quite soon now Opera 11.10 is out. The Opera extensions API is still quite new, so I guess it's subject to change. That said I have no had any problems with mine (I only really use LastPass and a couple of others, I use the built in No Script).

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re. TLS

I have no problem with TLS & IMAP, well I do because I have a personal certificate and Opera gets confused but IMAP read is fine. Going up on SMTP + TLS on port 465 it looks like the handshake is not happening so I don't authenticate and the server won't relay for me. Only it might, the next time I start Opera. Did pass on the relevant server logs to Opera so a tad miffed on this as I am heavy Opera + IMAP user (6 accounts and counting).

NotScript has been flagged as not working so hopefully that will be fixed soon.

Webp is likely to make it's way into mod_pagespeed which will probably use it if the browser can handle it much like gzip. So, faster browsing for cleverer browser and kudos to Google for having the balls with webm and webp.

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Slightly confused

Not entirely sure there's much point in Opera announcing support for WebP images until several years down the line when people, might, possibly, just about consider using it. A bit like PNG vs GIF - it was better and had no licence fee, but still very few images use PNG on the web.

Speed Dial looks remarkably similar to what Chrome does when you open a new tab, unless there's some difference I've not seen?

Would also be nice if Google would do a proxy thing for Chrome, like Opera is doing. Can forsee it being useful in Opera, but could also forsee it bankrupting them if the browser ever took a large market share.

Don't dislike Opera, but just not sure if it has any real purpose vs IE, Chrome or FF?

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re: Slightly confused

@Trev 2: True if you are connecting direct to web sites, but if you are using the Opera 'Turbo' proxy service, the image assets will be transcoded and piped to your browser in WebP format. Have to say that 'Turbo' proxy is a very useful service when using 3G :-)

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Re: Slightly confused

The point of WebP in this instance is that Opera Turbo makes use of it to improve the quality and reduce the size of images that it recompresses for the benefit of those on slow or expensive connections.

I find Opera still tends to innovate features that are later implemented in other browsers. For example, you mention Speed Dial looking similar to what Chrome offers - Speed Dial was added to Opera in 2007, over a year before the first version of Chrome was released.

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Re:Speed Dial

Erm, speed dial has been in opera longer than chrome has existed ;)

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vwk
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Yeah, it's pretty similar...

Except:

a) Speed Dial was introduced in april 2007, over a year before chrome even existed.

b) You choose what your speed dials are - they don't get populated from your most visited sites (I haven't used chrome in a while, so this may not be default behaviour any more though).

PROTIP: you can quickly access your speed dials by typing their number into the address bar. For example, if your third speed dial was linked to 'http://somesite.com', then typing '3' into the address bar would take you to that site.

Personally, I use opera because it has an RSS and Mail reader built in, the mouse gestures work well, it allows for me to easily configure single-key keyboard shortcuts, it's generally pretty fast, and I can use user javascripts to modify websites as I like.

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PROTIP Number 2:

You can access speed dial items 1-9 even more quickly by simply pressing ctrl+the number. You don't need to be focussed on the address bar to do this.

I am usually a fan of Opera updates however this one messed up the ordering of my speed dial on two computers (and thus the keyboard/address shortcuts) and I had to manually rearrange it. I also don't like the massive + icon for adding a new item to the speed dial but thankfully that can be disabled.

To be honest I'd like a greater focus on stability now: I still find Opera hangs now and again on several machines running Windows Vista and 7 (although no problems on XP).

I like Firefox 4 but it doesn't have the features I want without adding extensions which slow it down, and IE9 is pretty good but again lacking in features (mouse gestures, specifically).

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Happy

opera

never seen opera hang in an Very long time, i have 80+ tabs open in my browser and the speed it opens on first start up is very fast considering i have so many tabs open when it fires up (SSD mite help in this case but i have it on 4 other systems 2 of them are laptops with 20 tabs open and it fires up quite fast)

Make sure ,Load plug-ins on demand, is ticked as that has an Massive ram and performance boost to opera (pref>content) as that stops flash from loading unless you click on them (puts an play button on them, Wish there was an option to exclude certain web sites from the block like youtube as thats the only site i can think off that would need auto alow plugins)

Disable superfetch on vista systems

make sure java and Flash is up to date

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Actually...

There IS a mouse gestures add-on for IE (8 and upwards at least) - but, like FF it's an add-on.

Opera is the browser I generally recommend to non-developer people (although Dragonfly is pretty damned good for devs) because it's probably the best web browser to actually use as a web browser (rather than a dev tool), with the least amount of tinkering.

Updating it now...

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Very nice it is too

The best browser just got better. Opera might not have the marketshare (due to minuscule budgets compared to the big boys), but it has the product.

I think of it like this. Opera is the reward for those smart enough to try things for themselves, rather than relying on what the TV/Newspaper/Internet tells them to use.

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Alien

@MarkOne. Ah, yes, the obligatory vigorous self-patting on the back...

a.k.a. "Opera is so cool and y'all are so clueless not to have seen the light..."

To each her own. Nothing wrong with Opera, mind you, but the fan base grates on me nerves.

I saw no compelling reason to switch when I tried it and I like to make up my own mind, txs very much. I also tried it on an iPhone and preferred Safari (which is not saying much).

p.s. If you didn't find out about Opera through TV/Newspaper/Internet, how did you hear of it?

Telepathy?

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Anonymous Coward

Opera on iPhone

Opera on iPhone is only Opera Mini because of Apple's rules about other browsers on that platform so that's probably why you found it underwhelming. Try Opera Mobile not Opera Mini on Android and you will never go back to any other browser on a phone.

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Coat

so the fat lady sings again

Going now.

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WTF?

Unwanted effect

So I took a JPG file off my 12MP camera phone; it was 1,768 KB and after encoding with cwebp at 100% quality, it became 3,605 KB... what's up with that?

I did it over using 80% quality and it got 549 KB.

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When 100% isn't 100%

Webp 100% should be lossless and 4:1 for lossless compression on photos is about par for the course. Note to achieve this you have created a *new* bitmap from the JPEG and then asked webp to save this new bitmap lossly - it isn't working directly with the JPEG.

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Anonymous Coward

More Open "minefield" Source from Google

More code from Google under their IP Rights Grant (Patents).

Any company with a nice stock of patents (and which large one doesn't these days) will spend more time analysing the code to see if they're not shooting themselves in the foot for including this than probably creating a yet another format.

Also it offers nice patent protection to Google because companies will also think "will we ever need to include this code because their stupid format caught on?" before going ahead with other patent claims that may be covered in the code.

Generous of Google? Call me cynical, but I don't see it that way. Truly generous would have been open sourcing the code under the BSD licence with no strings attached.

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"Open sourcing the code under the BSD licence with no strings attached."

Ah, so you work for Microsoft, then?

"At Microsoft we believe in code reuse... Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V. There: reused. Thank you. Your attribution will be compiled into a header file."

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HMB

Nice WebP support, Shame about the fanbois

I tried Opera on my Android, didn't like it. I tried Opera on my desktop, didn't like that either. I stick with the native browser on my phone and Chrome on my desktop. I'm in the majority. Deal with it.

I think the inclusion of WebP support is great. People forget that you have to have a widely deployed standard BEFORE developers start to code for it. Suggesting that it could have waited until wider use is just nonsense. Who designs websites that don't work in browsers?

Opera innovates and does an impressive job keeping up with most things, but suggesting that it's the best browser and people just don't know it is a bit cultish.

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Chrome is the majority browser?

11.5% of the market? Doesnt' sound like a majority to me. Who's the cult?

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Clueless

Clearly HMB doesn;t have a clue. (His WebP demonstrate this). I would love to hear WHY Chrome is better than Opera on the desktop.

The look identical, perform identical, Opera is more customisable, has more features, is more standards compliant and does not have the privacy problems that Chrome has.

Right now, there is no reasons whatsoever (other than ignorance) to use use Chrome, as Opera does everything it does, as well, if not better, and a whole lot more too.

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Now...

Now go back and read the article again... Opera are using WebP in their Turbo proxy; when you view anything through Turbo it's transcoded and compressed on the server before sending it down to your PC/Netbook/Phone/whatever so it downloads quicker and uses less of your bandwidth.

It's in the transcoding that WebP is used to make the images smaller - web monkeys will still be using JPGs or PNGs on their websites but Opera Turbo will be sending them as WebP - it ain't that hard to understand is it?

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Ignorance?

This right here is a load of hate filled fanboi bile. People use browsers for different reasons, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

I use Chrome because it ties nicely into Gmail (which I use daily) with desktop notifications, post count favicon etc. There are also a number of extensions that don't exist on Opera I use a lot. That's ignorance is it?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC: One Reason

One reason why Chrome is better than Opera on the desktop:

Each tab is in its own process. The end.

I love Opera but until they add this, I simply can't go back. I'm tired of one tab hanging and locking the others. It's annoying as hell.

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Problem is

Ever process has it's own memory pool, which is why per-tab process is a REALLY bad plan for a fast and efficient browser. It sounds like you need educating that just because Google tell you something does not mean its not a small part of the story.

That, the privacy problems of Chrome, and the severe lack of features are why I don't use it.

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@AC

Ever heard of shared memory? Ever heard of dynamic libraries being shared between processes and loaded into RAM once? Sorry, it sounds like you're the one that needs some educating with the cluebat there!

Privacy problems? Easy, Chromium or SRWare Iron. Severe lack of features? Like what?

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JPEG

Not long back, I was involved with a project using JPEG2000 encoding for images. The company involved particularly wanted a compression system which could stream a progressive image, resulting in the final image being lossless but intermediate stages being useable. JPEG2000 actually does a damn fine job of it. And for lossy-but-still-good images, it's a whole lot better than plain old JPEG. Shame it costs so much to license it though, which is why hardly any software supports it.

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OpenJPEG?

OpenJPEG supports JPEG2000. I suppose there could be a licensing problem, but the BSD Licence doesn't have the problems GPL might,

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Great another graphics format.....

....that's incompatible with all the cameras, phones and other hardware out there.

Can I have a hole in the head to go with that please?

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Megaphone

Quite right!

Enough of this innovation - everyone stop trying to develop better file formats!

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Opera vs Chrome

The Opera fan boys can make all the arguments they want for why Opera is better (and perhaps I even accept them) but most people that use Chrome have tried Opera and didn't like it.

I work in an office where Chrome is now almost universal, most of us having moved from Firefox but we all have tried Opera in the last few years and simply not got on with it.

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Your loss then

I hope you know what Chrome is tracking about you....

Clearly "trying Opera in the last few years" is a rather lame thing. Opera has made massive changes since Opera 10.50, with a vastly improved UI, a new layout engine, a new drawing engine, a new javascript engine...

Chrome has pretty much copied Opera's look and feel now anyway, so Chrome is just a more bloated version of Opera, with less features, more memory use and privacy tracking.

http://i55.tinypic.com/2v34p78.png

I tried Netscape Navigator back in 1998, it was shit, so I havn't bothered trying Firefox4.....

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@AC

"I hope you know what Chrome is tracking about you...."

That's easy. Use Chromium. Or for the truly paranoid, SRWare Iron.

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Privacy

"I hope you know what Chrome is tracking about you...."

http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/privacy.html

Yes thanks

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Speed dial has contracted for some

Reading the official it appears that dedicated users have lost out big time in that the new Speed Dial is crippled in comparison.

Before you simply choose x columns by by rows but for some reason you had to alter the speeddial.ini to do so.

Its seems that it is now very much luck of the draw whether the new easy access but different speed dial works for you.

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Speed dial settings

You can still set the number of columns and hide the "+" button by hitting the "configure" button on the speed dial.

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HMB

Fanboi Reality Distortion Field

Obviously my observations about Opera and it's lack of adoption went through some sort of reality distortion field that surrounds the most zealous of the Opera fanbois. You see, at no point did I say Chrome was the best browser. I said it was my personal choice and made no other assertions.

As far as I'm concerned any improvement Opera makes help drive the whole web forward, so I'm very pleased to hear news of progression. Of course that doesn't matter. Why? Well even when you try to be fair to Opera you still get a load of juvenile accusations and arguments, often based on what you didn't say anyway.

It really doesn't do Opera any favours either.

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Improving image quality

There's no way to take a JPEG and re-encode it while "improving" image quality. All you can do is throw away data, you can't get it back.

You probably mean what the Google guy said - re-encode the image and reduce the filesize while maintaining image quality, or rather, not reduce it as much as you would have done while re-encoding in JPEG format to end up with equivalent filesize.

To the poster above who tried re-encoding a digital camera JPEG and found the filesize increased - you're testing the wrong thing. You need to start with a lossless format (e.g. a bitmap or PNG image which was generated direct from the camera e.g. a RAW conversion). Then try encoding the same image in JPEG and WebP with settings that result in the same perceived quality (this is the hard part) and compare the filesize. Or alternatively match the filesize and see which format has the higher perceived quality.

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Unhappy

Hmmm..

I'm an Opera fanboi, but there's still no support for Object.create, Object.defineProperty, etc... will we get ES5 any time soon?

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Errm

No browser supports ES5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECMAScript#Dialects

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