Web browsers are the in-thing these days for computer geeks everywhere. The functionality of web browsers is becoming so vast, Google has built an entire operating system around it. Every major browser today is competing for limelight and usage share. As it happens, there has been one dark horse in the so-called Browser Wars for quite a long time now - Opera. Opera has always stood out as a highly competitive browser on the desktop platform, but has failed to attract a large crowd. It's true that it comes with some really good original concepts sometimes (along with some not-so-good ones too) - either praised and forgotten, these concepts get criticized or adopted by other browsers in a better way. So this time round, rather than innovating something, Opera is enhancing their next big release with a feature that isn't a technological-breakthrough, but an utterly needed one!
[RELATED_ARTICLE]One of the features which Opera lacked for a while compared to its competitors was extension support. While Firefox and Google Chrome have large options of extensions to offer to their users, Opera only has what it calls widgets which lack in functionality and integrity as well. But finally Opera has decided to embrace them whole-heartedly, going so far as to create a Mozilla-style extensions gallery. The new Opera 11 Alpha that has been out for testing with extensions support has started to make heads turn among computer geeks. So we decided to take a look at the extension list and see what it has to offer, and have come up with the list of extensions that stand apart from the others. You can try these out if you already have Opera 11 Alpha installed or you may get the latest version here to get started. Please note that even though you will not need to restart your browser for these to work, some of these extensions may not work on the tabs that are already open while installing the extensions.
The YouTube downloader extensions have always been popular on every browser, and now Opera users can boast of their own with Easy Youtube Video Downloader. Once installed, as soon as you go to a youtube video on the website, users get an extra drop down menu with the download options. Users can download the videos in either MP4 or FLV format, as also the HD versions in MP4 format. There's also an option that may very well be the x-factor of this extension: the ability to download only the MP3 audio from the videos.
FaceChat is an extension that opens up a small box for chatting with the user's facebook friends using Facebook chat. The extension allows the users to hide the chatbox in between their browsing session and then open it back up to resume chatting without logging off in between. This extension may prove to be very useful for the many Facebook addicts out there.
This extension opens up a small popup that lets you view and edit all the advanced settings of your Opera browser. These settings can let the users take full control of their browser. Most of these settings are not found in the normal 'Settings' option, but to be fair - you get the same thing by accessing "about:config" in the address-bar, if that is more convenient for you!
This extension shows a popup whenever the user hovers the mouse cursor on an image link. The popup shows the image which the link points at. It is useful for imageboards, galleries, image search engines which have direct links to image files. Typically such links contain thumbnail images. The extension also offers configuration via an extension button popup. Not all sites have thumbnails with links pointing directly to images. Thumbnails on some sites may point to additional page with large image. This extension will not work on such sites. ImgTip has added support for Google images and extracts direct image links from links to preview pages, which allows the user to view the full sized picture without actually going to the link.
This extension is a must have for the social-birds, sharing links on their Facebook/Twitter/Google Buzz or on any other service. AddThis allows users to share, translate, bookmark, print, and more. This single extension supports over 300 services. All you have to do is keep a tab open which has the link you wish to use for the service, open the AddThis extension from the top right menu, and select the desired share service. Some of the popular services include Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Google Buzz, Google Bookmarks, Digg, StumbleUpon, Google Translate and Email. By default, it has 10 services listed, but you can easily go to the settings tab, search for your favorite services and Add/Remove them from the main list. You can also rearrange them in the order you desire; it's highly customizable. AddThis is a relatively new extension, but has already been getting very good ratings by Opera users so far.
This is 'the' one feature Opera browser was lacking and should definitely have been integrated within it. The extension works similar to the auto-complete of any other browser. It simply remembers the entries entered by you into text boxes and the next time when you start writing to any text box on the same domain, it shows you a list of the previously entered entries below the text box. The [Shift Left-Click] on any item allows you to delete that entry. You can also use double-click in an empty text box to show the entire list.
Searchengine preview shows the preview of web pages in form of thumbnails in the search engine's results. The current version of the extension works for Google searches. Although the author of the extension claims to support Yahoo search, it failed to do so on our browser - may be, he's still working on it. As Opera is yet to support Google Instant Preview, this can be useful many a times to figure out ad-free websites, or finding url-forgotten-can-recall-looks-only websites.
So far, the Opera browser is showing some promising extensions and performance, and the Alpha version also seems to be very stable. If you are bored using your browser, we recommend you give this Alpha version a try. And while you're at it, don't forget to keep a lookout for new upcoming extensions, which you can find on this link or by going to Menu --> Extensions --> Get Extensions on your Opera browser.
Know a better extension that we missed out? Let us know in the comments below.