Sunday, September 25, 2005

Opera Browser On The March

The Opera browser, which recently started offering itself for free, is an excellent choice for those of you who have older computers. Since I do most of my blogging on an ancient 200mhz Gateway with only 128 megs of ram, I know whereof I speak.

It has fewer bells and whistles than Internet Explorer, but you get much more speed and fewer system crashes in the tradeoff. Also, since Opera hasn't been a real target for hackers (yet), there's a security benefit, as well. It has a built-in pop-up blocker that, in my anecdotal usage, is superior to the Google pop-up blocker.

They used to offer two versions: a free version with a banner ad that blocked out a good bit of screen space, or a paid version for about forty bucks. Now it's all free, without the banner ad. I wondered how they could make money this way, and now the Washington Post explains:

Giving away the product doesn't automatically mean the company will come into hard financial times. The browser has a built-in search function that allows users to consult Google without opening up another window. Every time a user searches through the Google tool, the search engine pays Opera.

The only time that Opera sometimes lets me down is if I need to look at a heavily formatted web page. Sometimes the webmasters use codes that are specifically intended for Internet Explorer. Fie on them, I say!

Opera also has a built-in news reader, at least in the previous version I use. I will look into upgrading to the new, free version very soon.



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