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Opera 15/16/17/18/19/20+ - The Chrome Wars

  • Originally posted by Al-Khwarizmi:

    I am patient, if I thought that Opera would really give me a good browser in another year, or even in two years ...

    What a good browser is supposed to be, is a matter of perspective.
    New visions may lead to new perspectives.
    Opera ASA made the hop. It's now your turn if you want to like the new browser.

    I think some Opera veterans won't make the hop though.

  • Hypothetical question (particularly given my lack of software know-how):

    What would it take to keep the last version of Opera Presto (v.12.16) relatively compatible with most internet sites... especially the more popular social sites? If we were to forget about any future development of features but simply focused on compatibility issues and security updates, what would be required... how difficult would it be... how time-consuming and costly for the company given its current decision to fully develop the new Blink version of Opera? 😕

  • Originally posted by leushino:

    Hypothetical question (particularly given my lack of software know-how):

    What would it take to keep the last version of Opera Presto (v.12.16) relatively compatible with most internet sites... especially the more popular social sites? If we were to forget about any future development of features but simply focused on compatibility issues and security updates, what would be required... now difficult would it be... how time-consuming and costly for the company given its current decision to fully develop the new Blink version of Opera? 😕

    Only the Opera developers (past and present) can answer that with any accuracy, and even their replies would be built on a variety of personal assumptions. With sites playing browser-sniffing games, seemingly on an increasing basis, it's anybody's guess whether the devs could ever catch up completely, just on that basis alone. In fact, at this point, it's all "shoulda, coulda, woulda." The Blink dice have been rolled by Opera ASA, and everyone will get to see how it all plays out over the months to come.

    From my perspective, I would have preferred Opera ASA had more effectively polled their desktop user base in advance about their "needs" - much of the angst now evident might thereby have had more effect on design evolution at the beginning; I would have preferred Opera had done a lot more "feature" development in the New Opera desktop version before ever giving up anything to the light of day. But none of that matters now. What matters is how they will go forward from here. However (and unfortunately), the way it has all unfolded thus far has acted to undercut the hopes and attitudes of a finite class of Opera users regarding what Opera's future holds, and the fallout from that continues daily. Credibility of a market supplier is a critical factor to their ongoing viability, and credibility is all about customer perceptions and expectations raised by the supplier versus the follow-through over time... and that ball is now squarely in Opera's court, both in terms of execution and accurate, meaningful communication.

    What I do know is that life itself, as well as browsing the Internet in some manner or other, will continue with or without New Opera. Passionate critics and supporters alike would both do well to keep that firmly in mind.

  • Thanks for the insightful response. Much to ponder.

  • Originally posted by Tradeofjane:

    So far they've copied Chrome's layout engine, user interface, extension system, and even Chrome's rapid release cycle.

    The user interface was made from scratch, so it is not a copy. Chrome did not invent the basic browser interface, and we had to start somewhere to get the new version off the ground (namely with a solid foundation).

    Originally posted by martintangsl:

    Talking about compatibility, Chrome does have issues. It might be optimized and tuned for a certain websites, but it's not a silver bullet.

    So far, it has been basically a silver bullet. Very few compatibility issues, especially when compared with Opera 12.

    Originally posted by Al-Khwarizmi:

    The reality is that it's been half a year, six major versions (!) on the Developer stream, and they have implemented almost no significant features.

    You are paying too much attention to version numbers. They are not really relevant anymore. All the version number tells you is that it's a new version. However, the new version could have small or big changes. You really can't tell from the version number.

  • Originally posted by haavard:

    Originally posted by martintangsl:

    Talking about compatibility, Chrome does have issues. It might be optimized and tuned for a certain websites, but it's not a silver bullet.

    So far, it has been basically a silver bullet. Very few compatibility issues, especially when compared with Opera 12.

    I noticed that.

    I've been using the "new" Opera since the addition of the bookmarks bar. I'm very happy to no longer having to go back to Firefox for site issues.

    I talked others into using Opera. However, most have quit Opera and when they did it was always due to site rendering issues. When Opera matures a bit more, I'll try to reintroduce them.

  • Originally posted by haavard:

    Originally posted by Tradeofjane:

    So far they've copied Chrome's layout engine, user interface, extension system, and even Chrome's rapid release cycle.

    The user interface was made from scratch, so it is not a copy. Chrome did not invent the basic browser interface, and we had to start somewhere to get the new version off the ground (namely with a solid foundation).

    I think part of the problem is lack of communication by Opera on their future plans.

    Users that visit the Desktop Team Blog have heard many times that the user interface was built from scratch and is not a copy of Chrome, and have heard that the user interface is a foundation that can be built upon. And that no features have been removed, instead they haven't been built yet. But many people don't see that information.

    Many users are asking for side panels to return. Some are asking for a menu bar back. Opera has been silent on these UI features. I understand that developers aren't allowed to talk about certain things. But from a user stand-point, it can be a bit frustrating. Especially since the few things Opera has revealed always seem to be things like, they want to make things more modern, they want to make it easier for the average user to use, they don't want to waste time on features that nobody uses.

    That type of information doesn't really say anything about any specific feature. But it sounds negative. Is a menu bar, or a side panel an old feature? We don't know because we don't have any information. And many people will assume the worst.

  • Originally posted by ugly95:

    That type of information doesn't really say anything about any specific feature. But it sounds negative. Is a menu bar, or a side panel an old feature? We don't know because we don't have any information. And many people will assume the worst.

    While I've been generally supportive of Opera's new direction, I've also admitted that its lack of communication has been somewhat problematic. I agree with you that a basic lack of information can lead people to become increasingly frustrated and possibly assume the worst, as you put it. I wish Opera would be a little more upfront about its plans for the new browser and what it intends to do in regards to the older suite. Obviously software companies do not reveal their development plans to their users before introducing new features or removing former ones. But it seems to me that this complete rewrite casts Opera in a bit of a different light, having upset much of its user base. It's been largely left to knowledgeable users to educate confused members on new features (i.e. Quick Access Bar) and how they can be used in place of former ones no longer available. And the Help section appears to be lacking in that regard. I'm sticking with Opera but I wish it would consider being a little more upfront and educate us directly.

  • Originally posted by haavard:

    You are paying too much attention to version numbers. They are not really relevant anymore. All the version number tells you is that it's a new version. However, the new version could have small or big changes. You really can't tell from the version number.

    That might be so, but because developers like you made it so. The version is only insignificant if you convince people to always update due to "security vulnerabilities"

    A change in major version number should indicate a significant change in code (with or without apparent new features), which introduces new bugs and compatibility changes. A practical example. I download a program on an obsolete system, and it doesn't function there. Which version do I revert to? The last one before a major change would be my first guess. Opera 11.54. Doesn't work? Opera 10.63. Major versions are more likely than not to break plugin compatibility (say you drop one flavor of ffmpeg in favor to another, or Netscape plugins stop working).

    When deciding upon updating to the new version, I likewise would like to know if the update is major or not (before consulting a changelog), to prepare for a potentially disastrous change with a backup, or delay updating to an insignificant 'security' type of fix.

  • Version numbers don't mean anything to anyone anymore (LOL... managed to use quite a few "any's"). Apple no longer number their iPads. Increasingly security suites no longer date their products. It's seems with browsers that Google began this insane number race and all the others jumped on board so our complaining about it means squat. It's not going to change and that's a fact so we're going to have to grin and bear it. 😞

  • Originally posted by haavard:

    You are paying too much attention to version numbers. They are not really relevant anymore. All the version number tells you is that it's a new version. However, the new version could have small or big changes. You really can't tell from the version number.

    OK, point taken. But anyway, the comment about version numbers was just an anecdote, a parenthetical element in a sentence, not the main point of my post. If you remove the text "six major versions (!)" from my post, the rest still stands. In six months we got like, how much, 2% of the features in Opera 12, being optimistic? I'm not expecting to get everything back, but at the current pace it will be years until we get even the most popular set of features.

  • Originally posted by haavard:

    So far, it has been basically a silver bullet. Very few compatibility issues, especially when compared with Opera 12.

    It may be more compatible with a few sites like Facebook, most of these sites I don't use and never will be, but what I have seen so far is incompatible with a lot of the existing users, including me.

  • Originally posted by magellan42:

    It may be more compatible with a few sites like Facebook, most of these sites I don't use and never will be, but what I have seen so far is incompatible with a lot of the existing users, including me.

    The reality is the existing users form a very small share of the overall browser market. Problems with site compatibility has always been a major issue with Opera for many years so perhaps sacrificing the few dedicated users who have very specific and sometimes individual requirements is necessary in order to attempt to gain a larger market share. You have to wonder why a simple browser like Chrome is way more popular than the feature rich Opera (before the engine switch).

  • Originally posted by cozza:

    ... The reality is the existing users form a very small share of the overall browser market. Problems with site compatibility has always been a major issue with Opera for many years so perhaps sacrificing the few dedicated users who have very specific and sometimes individual requirements is necessary in order to attempt to gain a larger market share. ...

    And just how is Opera attempting to gain market share, especially if they have alienated a significant portion of their long-term, feature-demanding user base, however large that may or may not have been? Marketing? If they are marketing, where and when and how? Because right now, I've encountered virtually nothing in the media. In bygone days, the Opera desktop demand came either from word-of-mouth from that now-"sacrificed" user base and from down-adoption by mobile users who found it on their phones - marketing has never been Opera's "strong suit". Will share be gained from the Chrome-fixated world by the addition of "must-have, killer" features? If so, which ones and when will they appear - and how will the market find out they even exist? What is Opera uniquely doing (and marketing) to both retain old uers and attract new ones?

    It's been a long time in "Internet-years" since Opera introduced a desktop browser feature that was both compelling and novel. It's been a year since many in its "existing user base" experienced the release of a fully-featured Opera as useful as what they've known before... instead, they've seen many of those features simply evaporate. It's been six months since the introduction of the Blink version... and still the marketplace waits for something distinctive and compelling as a reason to switch to Opera (since every net-aware device already comes with some kind of default browser, and "switching" is the only way Opera can grow market share).

    In all of this, I'm not arguing that it won't or can't eventually happen. But the wait is growing long, and the encouraging signs are few of late - particularly in the marketing arena.

    Originally posted by cozza:

    ... You have to wonder why a simple browser like Chrome is way more popular than the feature rich Opera (before the engine switch).

    Because all-too-many sites have financially partnered with a few browser makers to "support their browser brand" on those sites. Because it's easier and cheaper to code for a website by ignoring rigorous Internet standards or low-market-share browsers. Because a ton of software and websites push downloads of a few browsers in return for "financial consideration". Popularity and simplicity may have little to do with why the masses choose a simplistic browser... it may have more to do with the consequences of a user's "needed" site employing browser-sniffing that coughs up a warning panel intimating Chrome, Firefox, or IE are the only ones that should be used, or "safely" used. That's particularly compelling when it's your bank, your webmail, or whatever.

  • Chrome is popular because there is a giant advertising power behind it. Every time somebody visits the Google main site and probably others with another browser, there is a banner saying "install Google Chrome", sprinkled with some marketing bull like faster, modern, etc. It may be dumb and primitive, and it may be a good browser for "1 bit" users who are unwilling or uncapable to make some mental effort when using the web (this probably desribes at least 2/3 of all users), but there are a dozen dumb and primitive browsers for similar people, and the winner is the one with the biggest marketing power. Look at those other dumb browsers, without the marketing support that Chrome gets, they are even less popular than Opera, and not because they are worse than anything else!

  • I have yet to see some real usage statistics for Opera 15+ which show its penetration and because of its user agent suspect that most show it as Chrome. Neither of the traffic analysis tools I use on my own websites (analog and AWStats) identify Opera 15+. I see a slight decline in Opera Presto usage but it remains 1-2%. So at the moment it is difficult to gauge Opera Blink usage but I have a gut feeling it is low and even lower than Presto. Yes, unless they concentrate on the marketing, Opera in all forms is just going to disappear.

  • Originally posted by magellan42:

    Chrome is popular because there is a giant advertising power behind it. Every time somebody visits the Google main site and probably others with another browser, there is a banner saying "install Google Chrome", sprinkled with some marketing bull like faster, modern, etc. It may be dumb and primitive, and it may be a good browser for "1 bit" users who are unwilling or uncapable to make some mental effort when using the web (this probably desribes at least 2/3 of all users), but there are a dozen dumb and primitive browsers for similar people, and the winner is the one with the biggest marketing power. Look at those other dumb browsers, without the marketing support that Chrome gets, they are even less popular than Opera, and not because they are worse than anything else!

    Not surprised at all. Google invests 10 dollars into the Chrome's advertising and its sneak install campaign for each one dollar invested into the development of their browser as software.
    Opera's attempt to fight Google's marketing monster with stripped-down Chromium-based shell under a proven brand couldn't be considered as winning strategy. The niche of oversimplified and 100%(nearly) compatible browsers is already oversaturated.

  • Ohh, that is really great news, wok-tek. I think I'll check the source for that Otter browser and see if I can give some help to the project.

  • Thanks woj-tek for this news! Hope that 'opensource Opera' project will be successful! :hat:

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