I switch back and forth between the Opera and Firefox browsers. One of the primary reasons why I think Opera is the single, best closed-source browser on the market is its Workspaces feature (which is, hands down, the best tab management system on the market). But Opera isn't just a one-trick pony. In fact, the developers have gone out of their way to add new features to help make Opera more than just a web browser.
This happened to Firefox some time ago. The developers all of a sudden decided their browser would be a kitchen sink affair by throwing everything at it to see what would stick. That led to the browser being horribly bloated and nearly useless. Fortunately, Mozilla pulled away from that idea and trimmed Firefox back down to its current state.
Opera, on the other hand, continues adding features. Now, to the Opera developer's credit, even with more features than most browsers have to offer, their product does not feel at all bloated. It opens quickly, renders websites as fast as any browser, and doesn't consume too much in the way of system resources.
That's a very good thing because the developers have added yet more features to the browser, two of which I want to address here. The two features in question are the music player and Shopping Corner.
What are these new features?
Both the music player and the Shopping Corner are pretty self-explanatory. The music player adds a music player to the sidebar, which can be connected to Spotify, Apple, YouTube, and other music accounts. Once connected, you can click to reveal the addition and start playing music without having to open another tab or install yet another application.
Since this addition arrived in Opera (with version 91.0.4516.20), I've found myself interacting with my Spotify account through Opera instead of the installed desktop client. The only thing I miss from the desktop client is the Discover feature (which I can only find on my Linux desktop client anyway).
As far as the Shopping Corner is concerned, this one is a bit confusing because there's no obvious way to access it. There's no Shopping Corner icon in the sidebar, no bookmark for it, and no entry in the Opera menu. What gives?
Turns out, the Shopping Corner is a URL, which is https://shopping-corner.opera.com/. However, if you try to view that link in any browser but Opera, it shows up as blank. Visit the URL in Opera and you'll be presented with the actual Shopping Corner, where you can search for products, view your recent items, and check out Best Deals. The product search is powered by Amazon, so you know exactly where the results will come from.
Therein lies one of the problems. At least in my situation, every time I search for a product and click on the results, I wind up with an error on the associated Amazon page that states "We're sorry, an error has occurred. Please reload this page and try again." I cannot click on an item, add it to a cart, or do anything.
Once you run a search for a product, you can then narrow down the search results (which doesn't help with the Amazon error). The other issue is that even after you've viewed a product on Amazon, it doesn't update in the Shopping Corner. This makes me think the feature might have been rolled out a bit too soon or the Linux version of Opera isn't exactly up to par with other versions. To test that theory, I installed Opera on MacOS only to find the same issue.
Although I doubt I'll be using the Opera Shopping Corner much (mostly because of the confusing access to the feature and the consistent Amazon errors), I will continue to use the music player as it keeps my desktop free of clutter and fewer tabs are required in the browser.
Opera will continue to be my standby browser, for those days when Firefox is giving me trouble. For any user who likes a more feature-rich web browser, you would be seriously remiss if you didn't give Opera a chance. And even though the Shopping Corner is a bit problematic, you can at least see where the developers are going with this feature. If they fix the Amazon errors in the Shopping Center, it could be a handy addition for a lot of users.