Chromium-based Opera 15 hits beta, stripped of Mail and old extensions

Chromium-based Opera 15 hits beta, stripped of Mail and old extensions

Summary: Opera releases its no-Presto browser for the desktop.

TOPICS: Browser

Norwegian browser maker Opera has released the beta build of its new Chromium-based browser for Mac and Windows with Linux on the way "later".

Called Opera Next 15, the beta-tagged browser is the first from the vendor that relies on the Google's Blink web rendering engine in Chromium 28 rather than the old Presto engine it said it would ditch this February.

Opera has dumped the M2 mail client from the new browser to simplify the UI and reduce its footprint, according to Opera developer Bruce Lawson. The mail client is now a standalone product called Opera Mail and is currently available as a preview build.

The browser includes some features launched as part of its Android browser, released in beta this March and in full version last week, such as Discover, a curated content discovery feature. It also carries over features from its older desktop product, such as Speed Dial, which allows people to add pages or extensions and group them into folders. 

Opera 15's read-it-later feature Stash compiles saved items for later reference and, like Chrome, the browser consolidates the address and search bar and delivers search suggestions from the address bar.

Opera Turbo data compression is now called Off-Road for browsing on slow connections. Compression occurs on Opera's servers, although HTTPS pages don't get sent to its proxy. The browser also supports Google's SPDY protocol, which it already supported on the older Opera 12.1.

With the move to Chromium, Opera has also dropped support for the extension format for Opera 11 and 12 in favour of Chromium's extension format. However, it notes that Opera 15 only supports a subset of Chromium extension APIs, as well as its own Speed Dial APIs, with more promised in future.

The new desktop browser follows last week's release of Opera 14 for Android, which was built on Chromium 26 and means it will eventually also rely on the Blink rendering engine.

Topic: Browser

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Just use Chrome...

    Whats the point of Opera, might as well just use Chrome.
    • Except Chrome is Google's browser

      Chromium is the core code of Google's (and now Opera's) browser. So you get some benefit from Opera as it is not tracking you like Google would like to.
    • Just use Safari

      What's the point of Chrome, might as well just use Safari. Both Safari and Chrome (for now) use the same webkit engine after all.

      Oh wait a minute, they're different products :-|
  • Too bad

    One of Opera's main points is the total integrated environment. This may well lead me to dump the Opera browser, but I'm extremely unlikely to dump Opera Mail. It is just too good to be discarded.
    Bart B. Van Bockstaele
  • Another excellent web browser gone to bloat

    Opera 12.15 for Windows download size:

    o 9.8 MB English (U.S.)
    o 12.6 MB International

    And this version includes Opera Mail.

    Opera Next 15.0.1 for Windows (beta) download size:

    o 24.4 MB
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Sounds good

    It all looks good to me, exciting new changes.

    It never did make sense to include an e-mail client inside a web browser. Best have it separate.

    there's nothing left of "Opera" in there! No Mail and RSS, No IRC, No Sidebar, No Notes, No Content Blocker, No Customizable UI, No Tab Stacking, No Advanced Features and Options, No Nothing...

    This is totally BS guys; I wouldn't have used Opera as my main browser for over a decade if i wanted to use chrome or some shit like that... >:/

    and this is the end of the greatest web browser ever made in the history of man-kind. :'/
    Masoud Moradi
  • And like everybody else . . .

    "and, like Chrome, the browser consolidates the address and search bar and delivers search suggestions from the address bar."

    Which, in turn, is like everybody else. Firefox? Yup. IE? Yup.

    Interesting to see Opera go this route. I guess we'll see if it helps them.
  • It's a mystery why this is happening...

    There certainly is a discrepancy between what is reported in this story and what has been observed in the real world. However, that is getting to be par for the course, as not much the Opera developers say can be trusted either.

    The new version of the browser has had two releases thus far, and still looks like the red-headed stepchild of Chrome, devoid of usability. There are no bookmarks, there are none of the features which distinguished Opera in a sea of "me-too" browsers remaining. The developers are stating that these features can't be added back in, but fail to explain why that is, since what most are complaining about is the user interface, which should be totally unaffected by the rendering engine. Also in their comments are claims of how the interface was done from scratch, yet every tiny detail screams "Chrome".

    The developers are starting to get a real nasty attitude when people ask about why the features are not forthcoming in a timely manner. They seem to be very thin skinned about things, and more than that, don't really wish to connect with the users who are trying to report bugs, of which there are many. Questions put forth as to why certain things are not implemented yet, basic things like bookmarks, are met with rude answers and threats of removal from the developer blog. It seems there is not as much freedom of speech in Norway as in the United States, because direct questions asked with no malice nor profanity are being treated as attacks. It really sounds as though this current team of developers, which by their output seems as far removed from the ones who used to develop Opera as are the north and south poles, is out of their depth.

    What is amazing is the size of the download, as Opera 12 was so small and included so much functionality, while Opera 15 is so large and barely renders web pages. Some people seem happy with this new iteration, but they are a small minority, perhaps 10-15%, and through their responses show only an affection for raw rendering speed.

    As a long time user, supporter, and on-line booster of Opera, I'm finding it harder and harder to continue bothering with it, as there is no reason to use a bloated, yet gutted of features, distribution which looks like Chrome but has none of the attending benefits.

    Opera has done this ostensibly to gain users, yet, if they alienate all the faithful longtime users, while offering something that looks like Chrome, but has little of its abilities, where will the increased usage come from?
  • Please Keep Opera!

    Opera has always been unique among browsers because of its incredible flexibility coupled with ease of use and handy features.
    The interface is totally customisable to the user's preference - I even have my own icon set.
    The sidebar is a magic feature which is also customisable - I especially use it for quickly accessing bookmarks and history.
    Chrome doesn't have these features, which is one reason why I don't use it - I find it cumbersome, everything being hidden away under the spanner.
    With Opera any feature you need can simply be added to the toolbar or sidebar to make it available by one or two clicks.
    I particularly like the site preferences feature of Opera which enables the user to control aspects of individual web-sites, displaying them exactly as required. Does any other browser have this?
    So what is the point of removing a huge number of the features that make Opera unique and turning it into a copy of Chrome?