Most obviously, the latest upgrade focuses on aesthetics. Opera is adding Themes to the mix, allowing users to add a "lightweight" skin and design to the browser window. Lightweight is the keyword as often times these kinds of graphic-heavy additions can slow load times considerably, making the user experience frustrating.
In what might be an Internet first, Opera is also touting "sexier security" as product developers overhauled the security badge to make understanding website security and privacy policies easier. Users should be able to see if a site wants your location information and/or to turn on your webcam instantly.
Speaking of the webcam, Opera 12 is enabling web apps to take advantage of this hardware with more design-focused functions such as a photo booth and a game called Facekat, in which you basically use your head to avoid asteroids hitting you (on screen, of course).
Other new features include a speed boost for better and faster HTML5 rendering, right-to-left text support and five new languages (Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Urdu and Kazakh), and an optional experimental hardware acceleration function.
Opera 12 is available to download and upgrade now for free. For interested developers, full documentation for Opera 12, including details about improvements to CSS3 and HTML5 support, are available online now.
Images via Opera Software
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