Web browsers aren’t always interesting. They have a task, a purpose, and don’t always see the sort of innovation that can be called “exciting”. Opera, which is now owned by a consortium of Chinese companies, has decided to liven things up. And right on cue, we have the Opera Neon, which is an experimental desktop browser for Windows and Mac computing devices, and focuses on minimalism and modern design cues as well as functionality.
Open Neon for the first time, and it becomes very clear that this isn’t the standard fare web browser, such as the likes of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which you may have been using all along. The home screen has your favourite websites (these can be customized) as bubbles placed in such a way that it feels like they are floating around the screen. Your desktop background/wallpaper is visible, because the browser home screen is translucent. It might be time to change that default Windows or OS X wallpaper to something fancier, perhaps?
Opera Neon is based on the same engine as the Opera browser but puts the content under the spotlight. So users will get the “ability to drag and push things around, and to even pop content from the web”.
The basic idea is to stop thinking of the browser as something that will lets you access documents and files and look at it as a place for content. Krystian Kolondra, Head of Opera browser, says browsers of today were all made for the last millennium, “a time when the web was full of documents and pages”. “With the Opera Neon project, we want show people our vision for the future of the web.”
The new features are:
1. New start page using your current desktop background image
2. A left sidebar with video player, image gallery, and download manager
3. A new visual tab bar on the right side of the browser window, making it easier to distinguish the relevant tab
4. An intelligent system to automatically manages tabs. Like gravity, frequently-used tabs will float to the top, while rarely-used tabs will sink to the bottom.
5. A completely new omnibox, supporting top search engines and open search