Opera releases stable Opera 16 for the desktop on Chromium 29

Opera 16 brings few new major features, but fleshes out Chromium extension APIs for developers.

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Norwegian browser maker Opera has released a new stable version of its desktop browser, Opera 16, adding support for location aware services among other improvements to its extension APIs.

The stable release of Opera 16, which runs on Chromium 29 and has until now been Opera's 'Next' beta, brings a number of tweaks, including improved support for HTML5 and location services, to the desktop browser. 

Among improvements to extensions in the browser are the addition of a W3C-compliant geolocation API, which can be used on websites like Foursquare to enable location-aware services. Opera 16 users will be asked for permission to share their location with websites that request it.

The stable release for Macs and Windows also brings automated form-filling, full screen presentation mode for the browser on Macs, and 'jump lists' for quicker navigation on Windows.

The new browser builds on Opera's shift to Chromium's extension model that began with Opera 15, and according to Andreas Bovens, a developer at Opera, there are now more than 300 extensions that support Opera 15 and later, which include popular services like Evernote, Pocket, Yandex, Pinterest, LastPass and Feedly.

Also on the extensions front, Opera 16 adds chrome.cookies and chrome.history to the subset of Chromium APIs it launched with in Opera 15, while Opera has made new extension templates and samples for developers to build new tools upon. Opera 16 also removes the limit of just six extensions in the browser UI.

The full change log has not been published yet, according to Opera developer Sebastian Baberowski, but Opera 16 also includes "tons of bug-fixes" among the changes, some which were fixed earlier this month. 

Along with the switch from its own Presto to Chromium, Opera adopted Stable, Next and Developer streams for its browser releases to support a faster cycle.

Earlier this month Opera released its first Developer browser build, Opera 17, which runs on Chrome 30 and brings back Opera 12's tab pinning functionality among other changes.