A night at the “Opera” – A browser worth its diva status

A night at the “Opera” – A browser worth its diva status

I was getting my new podcast set up, when I noticed that one of my guest’s websites appeared to be down. So, I emailed her and she assured me that it was working for her and several others that she checked with.

I tried several chrome sessions, and even dusted off Microsoft Edge to test it, and I was still getting an error message!

So, I whipped out an old friend called “Opera” as one final test.

The Opera browser has been around for many years. It has boasted better security and faster internet speeds than other browsers because it has built-in ad blockers, blocking cookies, and more. You can also use their VPN, but I read articles suggesting that their VPN protects you from others, but not them. They may track your actions on their VPN.

Her site worked fine in Opera, and funny enough, it seemed to start working everywhere else thereafter. Weird.

Meanwhile, Opera had my attention now. Things have changed since the last time I looked at it, which admittedly was many years ago.

The interface is nice and clean. It does seem to go much faster (my internet speed helps, too):

Bookmarks

Of course, the first thing I wanted to know was how it handles bookmarks. I immediately noticed the sidebar on the left and figured out pretty quickly that the heart icon was for bookmarks. When I played with it, I was quickly reminded of what I’ve missed for years from the first Mozilla Firefox browser. You can open up a sidebar with your bookmarks in it that stays prevalent. In other words, I can click on a bookmark, a new tab will open, and my bookmarks are all still there on the left. They don’t live in their own tab, creating an extra click when I want to go back to them. And, of course, I can collapse this when it’s time to focus.

This started on a Friday, and by early Sunday morning, I had gotten a good ways into setting up my bookmarks in Opera.

Pinboards (visual and collaborative bookmarks)

I love this idea. If you have a group of people working together on something, you can share a pinboard, allowing you to keep your bookmarks for that project in one place. Whether it’s shared Google Documents or research, this is a great way to do it.

Messenger apps

I keep in touch with my parents, other family members, and a few friends on WhatsApp. So, I was delighted to see that Opera had a built-in app for this, as well as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Twitter. I love this because I can pop it open for a minute, do something, close it, and move on. Other times, I’ll leave WhatsApp open. My parents are always a welcomed distraction!

This works especially well on my 34” curved wide screen!

Workspaces

Finally, for now, we have Workspaces! This is something I’ve wanted to have for a long time. I’ve tried to accomplish this by setting up multiple virtual desktops, with different tabs open in Chrome on the different desktops, but they still seem far out of reach.

Workspaces in Opera allow me to set up tabs that are only a click apart. I love this because instead of at times obsessively jumping into Gmail to see if there is anything new and interesting in my inbox and then closing it, I can now leave them open, along with some of my social media sites, in a workspace called communications. I can’t explain it, but I just find it less distracting than before now that I can click into the workspace and client right back out. It’s almost like knowing that it’s right there doesn’t make me wonder as much. I know I’m weird!

I’ve created a few workspaces for now:

  • Work
  • Client Focused
  • 97 & Up
  • Communications
  • Reading
  • Some personal ones.

I love having quick and easy access to things at my fingertips. I also love having a way to neatly tuck things away, so that I can take them out when I need them, and put them back when I don’t. I am not one to have 100 tabs open and leave them that way for days on end. For one thing, that’s a terrible idea from a security standpoint, and for another, it’s just messy!

Being able to organize my tabs across workspaces makes this even better. And, I can close opera on my desktop, then open it on my mobile, and the tabs are all synced, so I can pick up right where I left off in the Opera Mobile browser.

Editor’s note: This is the eighth article in a series by Seth David on Extreme Bookmarking. Access the entire series at this Content Guide.