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Tab Stacking is a pretty genious new feature in Opera 11. It's very intuitive.  (Source: Opera)

Mouse Gestures have also received a graphical makeover.  (Source: Opera)
Watch out Firefox, there's a new extendable browser in town

We recently interviewed Opera about the addition of extensions to the latest version of their browser, Opera 11.

The beta went live yesterday and features numerous improvements. 

Up first is "Tab Extensions".  This new feature is somewhat akin to the tab grouping features found in the Firefox 4.0 betas.  However, arguably, it's a lot easier to use.  Rather than special windows or panes to manage tab grouping, you simply drag tabs on top of each other to create stacks.  Mousing over or clicking a tab stack opens a secondary group of tabs below, which you can pick from.  You can also click and hold on a tab inside the appearing group to drag it out of the stack.

A video of the feature is available here, courtesy of Opera.

Another major addition to Opera 11 is a new graphical makeover for Mouse Gestures.  Many Opera users don't even know what Mouse Gestures are, but those who do can tell you that it's a key to much faster browsing.  Basically, with mouse gestures, you click a mouse button (typically the right one) and move your mouse in a specific pattern to execute an action like navigating back, opening a link in a new tab, etc.

With Opera 11 Mouse Gestures gets overhauled with a snazzy new interface, which should help new users learn.  When the feature is enabled and you activate it via mouse button press, a special window pops up commenting on your gesture.

A list of gestures can be found here from Opera.

Last, but not least the browser finally has extensions.  Currently there are 130 extensions, including AdBlock and NoScript extensions, two of the most popular ones on Firefox.  While many of these features were previously available, they were buried deep in Opera's internals and thus were tricky to learn how to use.  Suffice it to say that the addition of extensions is a very big deal for Opera as it takes some of the burden off the browser maker and gives the user more responsibility in learning and optimizing their browser -- an approach that has proven very rewarding for Mozilla.

Overall the browser is much faster than its predecessor -- 15 to 20 percent by Opera's estimates.  Linux performance was a key focus of improvement.  While performance and features received bumps, the installer size has dropped 30 percent from the previous edition.

It's worth mentioning that Opera's download page features a rather humorous homage to the much-beloved Spinal Tap.  So is Opera truly taking "to 11" as it claims?  Well it certainly seems like it.  Definitely seems like this release is worth a test drive, even for Opera skeptics.

You can download the English version of Opera 11 beta (1) here.


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RE: Gestures...
By Marlonsm on 11/24/2010 2:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
My main computer is a laptop, so it's not practical for me to carry a big mouse along(when I do have a mouse).
My mouse right now is a very small one, all it has are the 3 usual buttons. Mouse gestures are very handy for me, been using them since I found the Firegestures addon for Firefox (soon to try them on Opera 11).

It's much easier to just hold to right button and move to move slightly to the right to go to the next tab then to reach the tab bar and click it, for example.

I guess it's a matter of personal taste/needs, but when I'm using a browser without mouse gestures I end up taking much longer to do simple tasks.


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