Opera, the company behind the Opera browser, has been gathering some publicity lately, talking about a concept called "Opera Unite." On Tuesday, they unveiled the project, which basically turns your computer into a web server. Share what you want, without using a third party (Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, FlipShare) to host it.
The advantage is saving the time and effort of uploading the shared content, as well as the fact that (hopefully, assuming Opera Unite is secure) you don't have to worry about the content being in someone else's hands.
Opera has a vision for Opera Unite, and its for more than just file sharing, although that's already provided. They want developers to step in and extend the platform.
Opera Unite is a unique technology that turns any computer or device running Opera into a Web server. In other words, your computer (running Opera Unite) is truly part of the fabric of the Web, rather than just interacting with it, and it’s something anyone can use. With Opera Unite, everyday non-technical users can serve and share content and services directly from their own computers in the form of intuitive applications. That sounds kind of cool from a technology point of view, but what can you do with it, and why is it important?
With Opera Unite, we are giving developers a chance to develop applications (known as Opera Unite services) that directly link people’s personal computers together, so that you can connect with one or more of your friends at the same time. It all happens through the browser, so no additional software has to be downloaded, and it will work wherever Opera works (Windows, Mac, Linux, and later mobile phones and other devices). Opera provides the platform and you provide the applications—what you create is limited only by your imagination. We believe Opera Unite will redefine what’s possible with Web applications, and we invite you to join us in moving beyond stale ideas and limitations.
While you have to run Opera Unite by using (natch) the Opera browser on your PC, your friends can access your content via any browser.We even tried Chrome and Safari, and it seemed to work just fine.
Here's what currently available as a service for Unite:
File Sharing - Securely share a file from your personal computer without waiting to upload it.
Web Server - Run entire Web sites from your local computer with the Opera Unite Web Server.
Media Player - Access your MP3s and playlists from any machine. We can see the RIAA not liking this already.
Photo Sharing - Share your photos direct from your PC, without uploading them online.
The Lounge - The Lounge is a self-contained chat service running on your computer.
Fridge - Post a note on your friends’ virtual refrigerators.
This all sounds great, but there are some negatives.
We can already see the RIAA not liking some of this, as we said above.
For those of us with broadband caps, when people are grabbing stuff from our PC, we are using our own bandwidth. Ooops.
Upload speeds for consumer broadband is much slower than download. Thus, when people access large files from your PC, they'll be throttled by this fact.
The Terms of Service of some ISPs prohibit those with consumer accounts from running a Web Server. Ooops!
Another thing: it's great that Opera is doing this, but we don't use Opera and I'm not going to switch for this. Rather, we'll assume that others will notice this new service, and we'll see something in Chrome, IE, or Firefox to mimic it. Additionally, before doing anything, we'll have to check our ISPs TOS.
At any rate, we do applaud Opera. This is a great concept. Check a video by Opera regarding the new service below.