Opera releases latest browser

Version 9.2 includes a speed-dial feature, which allows users to see a visual representation of their favourite sites within each tab

Opera has added a "speed dial" feature to the latest version of its popular web browser, which it launched on Wednesday. The feature gives users a visual representation of their nine favourite sites through thumbnails, available in each tab.

Thomas Ford, public relations manager for Opera's desktop software, said the organisation would continue to try to take market share from Microsoft in the browser market. "My hope is that 9.2 [the latest version of the browser] will increase our market share. Speed dial is a good technical step, and it's got a lot of good attention. We're still a small scrappy company fighting for our space, but our uptake is increasing."

Ford said that business users would find speed dial useful for providing a snapshot of all the "dashboards" people need to look at — applications they need to check, such as market analysis sites. "Think of it as a productivity tool," said Ford. "If you accidentally close a tab, you can instantly retrieve it from the trash can."

Another feature in 9.2 is the availability of developer tools that can be accessed directly through the browser. "The developer tool we are working on currently is the JavaScript debugger," said Ford. "We would love the community's help in guiding the development of these native tools. They can leave feedback on the desktop team blog."

Opera has ironed out weaknesses in 9.2 which were reported by vulnerability alert firm Secunia, and it currently has an average patch time of two days. Microsoft patches once a month, but will occasionally issue a patch out of cycle, as with the animated cursor flaw.

Downloads of the latest version of Opera are running at half a million in the past 24 hours, according to one source close to the organisation.