Opera 11 Beta Brings Tab Stacking And Extensions

While the tablet market is definitely a heated one on the hardware side, the browser market is the heated one over on the software side. Internet Explorer 9 Beta just launched a few months ago, and Firefox seems to be getting closer to a stable 4.0 release every single day. And then there's Opera. This browser has been gaining in popularity for some time now, and Opera 11 looks to make that huge leap to put it in the same category as IE, Firefox and Chrome.

The very first beta of Opera 11 is out today, and it's bringing a major new feature: tab stacking. Tabbed browsing as a whole revolutionized the way people could surf the web, but as technologies have changed and trends have shifted into widescreen displays, another way of aligning tabs is due. That's tab stacking. Opera thinks that it's a better way of organizing tabs; traditionally, tabs were opened side-by-side, but now people using Opera can stack their tabs, grouping them by site or by theme. A plug-in has enabled other browsers to do this already, but support from the creator is always nice.

There's also one other thing: extensions. Extensions recently came to Safari, and they're what has made Firefox such a huge success in large part. Opera claims that developers are submitting between 10-20 new extensions each day, all of which enable Opera to become a more flexible and more useful browser. Looks like we've got another contender!

First beta of Opera 11 showcases tab stacking

Oslo, Norway - November 23, 2010 - Tabbed browsing, one of the essential features in all browsers, has evolved yet again thanks to its long-time pioneer. Opera 11 beta introduces tab stacking, a better way to organize your open tabs. Traditionally, tabs were opened side-by-side, but now people using Opera can stack their tabs, grouping them by site or by theme. Tab stacking reduces clutter and makes it easier to identify and work with sets of open tabs.

It is easy to stack tabs. Simply drag one tab on top of another. Hovering the mouse over a tab will cause the stack to expand in a visual preview. Clicking the arrow icon expands the current stack across the tab bar. This brief video showcases tab stacking in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hqSGGk1YTI.

"Tabs are the most popular feature in browsers today," said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. "Because so many of us wrestle with tens or even hundreds of tabs, we wanted to find a better way to manage them. So, whether you are tracking positive reviews of your new album or researching the proper dimensions of Stonehenge, stacking your tabs is an intuitive way to organize and group your open webpages."

Extensions go to 11
Opera 11 also introduces extensions, browser add-ons that enhance the capabilities of Opera. In the three weeks since extensions debuted in the alpha release of Opera 11, more than 500,000 extensions have been downloaded. Fueling the growth in available extensions, developers submit between 10 and 20 new extensions each day. The full extension catalog is available here: https://addons.labs.opera.com/.

Thanks to a new developer mode in Opera 11 beta, extensions are even easier to make. Developers can use the developer mode to launch, test and package extensions quickly.

Mouse gestures go to 11
Mouse gestures provide a simple and effective way to control Opera with a few simple mouse movements. Since their introduction in Opera 5, mouse gestures have proven to be one of the most loved Opera features. In Opera 11, a new visual interface highlights mouse paths and helps guide the discovery, use and mastery of these powerful shortcuts. The full list of mouse gestures is available here: http://www.opera.com/browser/tutorials/gestures/.

But wait! There is more:
- The address field now hides unnecessary information and puts the security status of each page front and center. Now, badges explain the security state of the site, giving consumers clear information about the sites they visit.
- Plug-ins can be set to load on-demand. This can give as much as 30 percent performance improvement.
- Extensions and Opera Unite applications are updated automatically through Opera's update mechanism.
- Even more work has been done to boost browsing speed, particularly for Linux. Opera 11 for Linux is 15 to 20 percent faster on common benchmarks than Opera 10.63.
- Bookmarks are just a click away thanks to a new bookmarks bar that replaces Opera's personal bar.
- Opera 11 is 30 percent smaller than Opera 10.63, despite including new features.

Download Opera 11 beta (English only) from http://www.opera.com/browser/next. Opera runs on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

Opera 11 beta press kit: http://www.opera.com/media/presskit/Opera11beta.zip
Timeline of tabbed browsing in Opera: http://www.opera.com/bitmaps/press/resources/campaign/opera11beta/tabs_timeline.gif

No drummers were harmed in the making of this browser.
Tags:  Opera, Internet, Browser