While Firefox and Internet Explorer earn most of the news and publicity, smaller browsers like Google Chrome and Opera are quietly earning more marketshare. Norwegian-based Opera recently debuted a new browser, Opera 10, which brought improved speed compatibility, and some innovative built-in features.
Among the most popular of the new browser's features is Opera Turbo. The feature uses server-side compression to deliver webpages faster on slow connections. It can compress webpages 3 to 4 times, reducing transfer size by up to 80 percent in some cases. Turbo is located in the lower left-hand corner of Opera 10 and is turned on with a click.
In the first month after Opera 10's release, Opera reports that almost 3 million users worldwide tried the new feature. They used it to view 668 million compressed Web pages, numbers that indicate that the feature is gaining significant traction.
Users cited a variety of reasons for using the feature. Some users, forced to use slower connections like dialup or slower DSL conections, used the Turbo mode to help make navigating these slow lines less of a headache. Other customers who used mobile internet cards or other metered/pay-as-you-go plans turned on Turbo to reduce their data transfer and lower their monthly bills or prevent overages.
Looking forward, Opera is providing support for AT&T's fall smart phone browser lineup (other than the iPhone). The new "att.net" features Opera Mini, Opera's popular smart phone browser. DailyTech recently took Opera Mini 5 for a test drive on the Blackberry Storm, and found the latest version to be vastly improved, and much faster than the native browser. Opera's mobile browsers use many of the same compression techniques that power its PC Turbo Mode.