back to article Opera uncloaks Gmail challenger from Down Under

Opera has unveiled a free web-based email service along the lines of Gmail or Hotmail. Announced with a blog post but little other fanfare, the service is currently in beta, and it's available to anyone with a My Opera account. "Our goal is to make a fast and friendly mail service that is efficient and easy to use on any …


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  1. Anton Ivanov

    Too little too late

    The tie up between android mail, calendar, etc with google mail, calendar, etc pretty much guarantees its market growth at the expense of everyone else. Add to that and the emulation of exchange for non-Android devices and this pretty much does away with the entire market.

    I really do not see how a new email entrant can compete against that. Ditto for calendaring services.

    1. Ilgaz


      Any clever company with a good, trustable privacy policy and without police things like "no matter you delete, we will keep message and keep harvesting data" will be an alternative to gmail.

      If I have run a large company network, gmail would be one of the first things I would ban to my clients. It is an absolute security and privacy risk. There isn't even a spyware that harvests personal mails and analyses them beside harvesting e mail addresses.

      I am a paid subscriber and when we logon to fastmail, we see 5 years ahead with plain amazing reliability.

      Anyway, keep counting your gigabytes. I got terabyte of space running on my own, private webdav server ;)

      1. David 164 Bronze badge

        Hope you ban every other email host service.

        Hope you ban Yahoo Mail, Opera Mail or in fact anything else that have a spam filter, as this analyse the mail and the text in that mail to detect spam.

      2. ZiggyZiggy


        Clearly you have absolutely no experience of anything remotely close to a large company network. Your grans old PC with a stash of hard disks doesn't make you an experienced network administrator.

        1. Ilgaz

          you know nothing about laws

          for example, an health organisation has no right to export patient data to third party. Once that idiot secretary gets genius idea of forwarding all mail to gmail, your patient records are all being analysed, harvested to display ads without any kind of quality control.

          You are telling me that I will setup a mail server, secure it, back it up and one single idiot with no comprehension of privacy will upload it to google.

          No, seriously no. Gmail and any ADVERTISING SUPPORTED mail service's url belongs to content filtering system, next to facebook.

      3. Anton Ivanov

        You missed my point

        Take an android phone. Kill all Google services on it. Try to use it. Note how many of them reappear magically right away. Kill them once and for all (if you have the means). Try to use the phone again. Good luck with your endeavors.

        With that level of competitive leverage no webmail, webcalendaring, etc can compete successfully.

      4. Alan Bourke
        Thumb Up

        I'm a paid Fastmail subscriber too ..

        ... best webmail out there bar none.

      5. DrXym Silver badge


        Not sure why you single out GMail. Almost by definition, every webmail server in existence (including Hushmail, fastmail etc.) would store your email on their servers and most I expect would cooperate fully with law enforcement and would implement whatever prescribed logging / retention the local law requires.

        Really if you're THAT worried about security you shouldn't be using any hosting service AT ALL. Run your own mail server. If necessary backup the data to a remote host, but encrypted of course.

        If that isn't an option, use a web host but encrypt all your sensitive email correspondence with PGP or S/MIME. Just be aware that it won't protect things like subject lines, to / from / cc info, timestamps etc. Also encryption is othorgonal to things like search / sorting / filter functionality so while it might protect your data it also impedes communication to some extent.

  2. bitten

    The best

    I left hotmail for fastmail last century, then switched to gmail just for the free spam filter. Fastmail did not need web 2.0 to give an unmatched interface.

  3. Busby

    Doomed to failure?

    Many years too late to gain much traction. Its not as if accounts from other providers can't be accessed via many devices. Not sure I can see what the appeal of switching to this would be.

    This could be the final nail though "Currently, each account provides 1GB of storage space.".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay ajax-y rewrite goodness!

    If I find myself using /web/mail that's usually because my normal mail environment* isn't available and often enough that also means shitty network connections, slow machines, and so on. Then a "rewrite with ajax" means just that more slowness torture in the name of "features" I neither need nor want. "AJAX" seems like such a nice buzzword for developers, but to have to use the results easily degrades into sheer torture.

    Thus, this is not a reason for me to now flock to opera's mail thingy.

    Then again, that's probably not why opera is doing it. More likely it's to "integrate email" with their browser in a buzzword-compliant manner. Now I like opera well enough but I think for email I like my own choice of email client even better.

    Thus, that also isn't really a reason for me to now flock to opera's mail thingy.

    But hey, maybe enough su^Wother people will. And as monocultures are bad, hmkay, I'm not opposed to opera strengthening their position.

    * mutt, if you must know.

  5. XMAN

    I love it!

    I absolutely love it! I've been wanting to leave Google Mail for a long time because I hate them having even more info on me. But I've always loved their conversation thread style.

    Good job opera. It's a shame that it's such a crappy domain though. :/

    1. Steven Knox Silver badge


      AJAX can be an awesome solution for poor web connectivity, because it allows the browser to pull down parts of pages at a time instead of full pages every time. It's especially compact when JSON is substituted for the XML (although a sane XML developer can make XML quite compact as well.)

      It's a pity, but definitely true, that, as you mention, a lot if it is used to actually *increase* network traffic by throwing useless data back and forth. But I've found enough intelligent use of AJAX out there to realize that it's a fallacy to assume that AJAX means more traffic.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Best use of ajax

        AJAX is best used when the user is doing something which would require the entire page to be regenerated ANYWAY.

        e.g. you log onto a bank and the bank shows your statement for the last 30 days and you then choose to view the last 2 months. In the non AJAX world you have to rebuild the entire page. In the AJAX world, you just request the data again and reflow it. There is some overhead in this approach since the page needs JS that initiates the request and presents the data and deals with any anomalous conditions. But overall it's probably better.

        Biggest pain with AJAX are the libs themselves and developing against. They all try and wallpaper over the differences between browsers with the result that the code can look very strange with overloaded JS and weird HTML declarative markup. Dojo's Dijit has some really horrible markup.

        GWT is probably the easiest AJAX environment for Java developers to use, mostly because it keeps the HTML and JS at arm's length. You just write Java and it is machine translated into JS appropriate for each browser.

    2. Ilgaz

      as they don't harvest personal mail

      Perhaps one should question the real reason behind gigabytes of space being offered by gmail. When you keep all your mails, you serve them better for analytics and advertising profiling.

      Not even bothering to talk about the absurdity of using e-mail server to store files. Heard something like webdav? Even Windows can be a good, secure webdav server with terabytes of space when configured right.

    3. Ilgaz

      I don't think they will change fastmail

      Opera isn't a kind of company who has bad traditions like reinventing the wheel. I think they will add better IBM blades only, perhaps will provide an option in preferences to use opera mail interface.

      They aren't stupid, they know why people even pay for fastmail account.

    4. Dino

      or even more info THAN me !!

      Seriously I think gmail knows more about me that I do ....

  6. Lars Silver badge

    Good luck, Opera

    I might seem silly to compete with the big ones, but then again what would the world be if that was the rule. No Google no Microsoft, nothing but black cars.

    So good luck Opera, and yes Opera Mini is damned good on my phone.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    I guess it allows them to share some code between M2 and this service because much of the Opera interface is marked up in HTML. Will M2 be spun out as an extension or widget as a result?

    + lots to Opera for making the service IMAP only and requiring secure connections.

    1. Ilgaz

      fastmail user here

      If you demand pop3 support on fastmail, you have to pay for it as it creates amazing unneeded load/bandwidth issues for them.

      While on it, can you believe outlook express bugs and needless data usage in modem times is the real reason why IMAP couldn't take off until mobile age? Yes, outlook express managed to undermine such a great standard for years. Imagine petabytes of data wasted since.

  8. Gilbert Wham

    Too late

    Remember when people (well, idiots) were paying money for Gmail invites? Not going to happen here.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Are you drunk?


      Are you drunk?

      This new service doesn't require an invite!

  9. Richard 84


    myopera? myopia more like.

  10. FordPrefect
    Thumb Down

    Gotta echo..

    Too little too late. It offers nothing to pull people away from hotmail never mind gmail. I guess for the microsoft and google haters it will be a good thing but in reality how many people dislike a company enough to use an inferior product when both products are free.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      inferior product?

      You know nothing about OperaMail/FastMail...

      It's a very fine service. I'm guessing you are too lazy to explore alternative mail systems, just like you are too lazy to explore othter browsers...

      You use what the telly/t'internet tells you to use.

  11. batfastad
    Jobs Horns


    Google Calendar is truly excellent. But I think GMail is pretty poor. I'd prefer to have proper folders rather than labels/tags. And the ability to disable conversation mode.

    But the thing that keeps me in GMail rather than my own mail server is the mobile client. The GMail application for Android is excellent and really quick for checking your mail.

    I could use my own mail server with IMAP but I believe there need to be some upgrades to IMAP or a new protocol. When using a standard IMAP 4 implementation, outgoing mail gets sent to the server twice: Once through SMTP to actually send the message, then again to the IMAP server so it sits in your sent items folder. Not so bad for a desktop client but pretty brutal when using a mobile client. Also IMAP is a pretty "chatty" protocol in general.

    Be good if there was a new mail protocol based on SOAP/XML... being able to use the GMail mobile application with any mail server supporting SOAPmail would just be excellent.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge


      You can now get rid of the horrible conversation mode. I found out while setting up a new android phone for work, last week. It's in the settings, I think in the general tab, but I'm not on a desktop at the moment, so can't check.

      Found it, while trying to disable Buzz, which I thought had been put out of it's misery...

  12. src

    Fastmail were okay

    I used Fastmail with my own domain for a while but when I needed accounts for three users it became quite an expensive option compared to free Gmail Apps. Since then I have become seduced by Gmail with calendar, contacts, Docs, Picasa and Blogger - with easy synchronisation with an Android mobile.This forms such a complete, convenient and compelling package I cannot imagine shifting away any time soon.

    Google scan messages sent to me via plain text over the Internet to target adverts at me that I do not see because of AdBlock? Nothing I lose sleep over.

  13. P. Lee Silver badge

    group calendaring and rights delegation

    is what keeps Exchange in companies.

    Solve that one and you might start gaining small corporates to your webmail system.

    As far as gmail goes, it's just as fast as local mail for searching. Which is nice.

    Mac mail still rules for a UI though.v

  14. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "grouped into conversations"

    This is NOT a "plus" - Google FINALLY fixed that in the gmail web interface after lots of people bitched. I even switched away from gmail on my Droid, and paid $10 to install another email client with real folders.

  15. Spanners Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    A recent Gmail Improvement

    was the option to disable conversation mode. Unfortunately it does not seem to do this consistently on my phone.

    Its original presence was an example of Google doing a 'Microsoft'. MS are notorious for the attitude "we know better than you what you want". I hope Opera can do better.

  16. otan


    i signed up just to see what it was all about seems ok for a beta but one thing i noticed they limit your bandwidth as well as storage? maybe i was wrong?

  17. No. Really!?
    Black Helicopters

    Servers location

    If the FastMail.FM servers* were located in Europe, or at least Not in the U.S., that would offer an incentive to use the service.

    *(they are at NYI in New York City)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    because that's what the world needed.

    another browser-based email client in beta.


  19. JDX Gold badge

    re:inferior product?

    Aw, those poor patient Opera users. They just know it's so much better than everything else, and wish everyone would See The Light and Be Saved.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Opera users should realise

      That Opera is in it to make money too. Opera Mini doesn't exist out of the goodness of their hearts. It exists so Opera can sniff where people are visiting and deliver them targeted advertising. Basically they're in the same game as Google, Microsoft et all, just coming from the other end.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Opera is not into targeted advertising

        You are wrong. Opera SPECIFICALLY avoids targeted advertising. Opera does NOT use your browsing history to serve you ads, nor do they store your history for a long period of time either.

        Stop lying, please.

  20. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Up

    Been using Fastmail for 9 years now

    Paid up member all that time - apart from a few wobbles early on (that they learned from) it has been a SOLID service all over - technically it gives you everything you need (encrypted SMTP/IMAP - great levels of spam filtering - extended address spaces) - yes I suppose gmail has them but - as people sometimes say - you get what you pay for - I get solid email and expect a good service BECAUSE I'm paying.

    No complaints here - operamail looks like a 'dumb user' skin over the top though - if you want more just get a fastmail account.

  21. Whitter

    Horses for courses

    I suspect Opera will be targeting the mobile arena as they often do - it's where they make there money after all. So until I to want to want to starting using my mobile to check on emails, then I'll pass.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      1/3 of Opera's total revenue is from the desktop version. The desktop version is likely Opera's most profitable product!

  22. Anonymous Coward

    What's with the "My"?

    Even Microsoft have realised anything prefixed with "My" looks like it was made for a primary school project. Anyway, I suspect that this mail service, like Opera itself, will be mostly the domain of extreme shouty fanbois who go on about why it is better than everything else in the world eva.

    Much like the browser, I expect it will also be generally ignored and end up with a very small market share. In fact, since mid-2009 people have been ditching Opera, and the share is now flat-lining at around 2% from a high of around 3½%. Feet voting in action.

    Cue the fanbois.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      >>> Cue the fanbois.

      Funny how fanbois are always preceded by trolls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Funny... fanbois are fond of the AC check box.

    2. Ilgaz

      heard my opera?

      They managed to transform a web browser community to a real, generic community service with a huge amount of relationships and non technical blogs. That is its mail service.

      I suspect my opera browser stats are somehow similar to a general site, Opera isn't 90% levels, which is a _good_ thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: heard my opera?

        What? I read that three times and I still think it sounds like amanfrommars. I've no idea what you're talking about.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opera's Status Quo...."It's Standards Compliant"

      Opera is the dominant browser for mobile phones. It is also the most popular browser for mobile operators, by far.

      As for the desktop version, you are getting things wrong:

      1. Opera's user base on the desktop has been consistently growing since the ads were removed in 2005-2006

      2. The user base on desktop has doubled every two years

      3. Opera is huge in many parts of the world, especially in Eastern Europe. The stats fail to reflect this because they are almost exclusively focused on North America and Western Europe. As such, your market share claims are misleading

      Again: Opera is GROWING on the desktop, in addition to being the dominant mobile browser.

      I don't understand why you feel the need to troll.

  23. x4zYYvb3
    Thumb Up

    Small niche ecosystems vs mono-crop industrialised farming?

    Opera don't have to try and compete with Gmail, in the same way they don't have to compete with Firefox. Opera Software seem to have carved out a small niche in the technology ecosystem and have an enthusiastic following. Even if you don't use Opera browser on your desktop, there is still a space in the market for an ad free, simple webmail service that supports IMAP. As for the storage capacity, 1GB is certainly enough for most people. Especially if they choose to augment this with the 2GB offered by a MyOpera blog.

    However these are just details and perhaps the main reason to avoid Gmail (and a slew of other 'free' services) is that as a user of Gmail you are not the customer but the product. The true customers of Gmail are the companies that pay for the adverts. The product that Google is selling is you and me, our demographic and personal data that we give them for free.

    If you are happy being a product of one of the most powerful technology companies in the world then carry on using Gmail.If not, then Operamail is another good option in the marketplace.

    1. Badvok

      GMail = Adverts ?

      What adverts? I don't see any adverts. And the only use I have for Opera is Opera Mini which allows me to bypass my corporate web filter :)

  24. Andy Towler


    That is all.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    isnt this a case of Opera re-inventing "Opera Mail" from a few years ago?


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