Pardon my aging bones and a few gray hairs, but I’m one of those who cut my internet browsing teeth back in the day on the venerable Mosaic running on a Mac about 20 years ago.
After a couple of decades of browser improvements we’ve entered the golden age of browsers on the Mac. They’re all good. It’s time for something new and different and it comes from the folks who’ve been doing browsers a long time.
The Next Browser
There’s something about tech folks, particularly app developers, which borders on a psychological disorder. It’s that innate desire to redo what’s already been done.
That’s the Next browser from Opera, also known as Opera Next. It’s the next generation of browser from the company struggling to stay relevant in a world of very capable browsers.
I’m not sure what to think of Opera Next. Does it deserve to exist? Does it blaze any new trails for browser users?
I like the logo. And I like the idea of trying something new and different. I’m just trying to figure out what Opera Next does that’s, well, you know– new and different.
Regardless of your preference for browsers on the Mac– Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, or Opera Now (I jest), you have to admit they’re all decent.
Web pages are rendered well, and load quickly. Each has a distinct personality of features and functions, but, hey, they’re browsers. Do they deserve applause?
On the surface, Opera now looks like a mashup between Safari and Firefox and Chrome, though cleaner and neater and less cluttered.
Opera Next isn’t blazing any new trails in the look and feel department. The URL bar now lets you search and navigate the web, but other browsers have done that for years.
The Speed Dial groups (think of a custom start page) is nice, but merely different, not necessarily better functionality than what you’ll find in Safari.
Another feature that’s decent is Off-Road mode which compresses web pages to help out when bandwidth is slow, but even my iPhone’s internet connection is faster than my home DSL connection.
All it takes is a click to save a web page to the Stash, but that’s not exactly innovation is it? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ragging on Opera or Opera Next, I’m just curious as to what it does to justify an existence.
For example, I just checked Mac360’s server logs for the past 12 months. Opera shows up at #8 of 85 different web browsing devices to hit the site. That puts it behind Android and at less than 1-percent of all visitors.
Opera Next is clean, neat, fast, elegant and uncluttered, but if this is the next great thing among browsers, I think I’ll continue to use others browsers which do much the same thing.
What I think is happening is this. App developers love to start over, to clean up code, and smooth out functionality, even if it means they’re simply re-inventing the wheel. There might be plenty of new stuff under the hood, but few browser users really care.