10 widgets for Opera users to sing about

Opera widgets are neat little utilities that extend the functionality of the browser. And these 10 Opera widgets easily stand out from the crowd.

When Opera released its widget software development kit last year, there was little doubt that some cool applications would make their way to the company's browser. More than a year later, they indeed have.

I've been sifting through hundreds of Opera widgets that all work with the Opera browser for your Mac, Linux box, or PC. I've found 10 that stand out from the others. Opera users should definitely try these out.

10 Opera widgets

Brainkrieg Brainkrieg is a fun game that does its best to "exercise your brain." The tool gives you a variety of games to play that test your memory and help you think. The point of the game is to decrease your brain age. It's somewhat similar to Brain Age on the Nintendo DS, but the latter is a bit more sophisticated.

Brainkrieg
Brainkrieg helps you improve your memory. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Dotoo Dotoo is a to-do list widget in your Opera browser. You can create a host of to-do lists and access them all from within the widget. Adding tasks is as simple as pressing the "+" button under your list and inputting your task. It's not a sophisticated widget, so you won't be able to track your progress. But if you want to quickly add a few tasks, you should be happy with what you find.

Dotoo
Dotoo lets you create a quick to-do list. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Facebook Notifier Facebook Notifier gives you a listing of all your friends' recent status updates. You can't update your profile in the application, but you can easily access your profile with the links in the widget. It might not be the most useful app, but if you want to see what your friends are up to while you're browsing outside Facebook, it's a fine choice.

Facebook Notifier
Facebook Notifier keeps you up-to-date. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Google ToolBar The Google ToolBar should be one of the first widgets you add to your Opera browser. The tool gives you quick access to (and search results in) Google search, Gmail, Reader, Finance, News, and much more. Almost every Google app currently available is featured on the toolbar. And since it's a widget, you can drag it around your browser to put it in the perfect spot while you're working.

Google ToolBar
Google ToolBar is a must-have. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

iTunes Widget Opera's iTunes Widget allows you to see the top songs, featured tracks, new releases, and top albums. You can also choose songs by genre. When you find a song you might want to buy, you can click on it. That will immediately open a Web page redirecting you to the iTunes Store, where you can view the song's listing and buy it.

iTunes Widget
Buy your favorite songs with the iTunes Widget. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Lyrics Now Lyrics Now is a useful widget that provides you with song lyrics in a matter of seconds. Simply input the name of the song and its artist, and Lyrics Now will do the rest. It displays the album cover and the lyrics. You don't need to click the arrows in the sidebar to scroll through the lyrics. Instead, you can hover your mouse over them to get the job done. It's a simple addition, but one that makes sense; who wants to hear a clicking mouse while you're listening to a song?

Lyrics Now
Lyrics Now helps you quickly find your favorite song lyrics. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Pandora If you're a fan of music, you'll love the Pandora Opera Widget. Once you download it and input your Pandora credentials, the widget displays all your stations in the familiar Pandora interface. You can listen to songs, tell the service which tracks you like, and check out other users' stations. It's a full-featured Pandora widget that works just as well as its site.

Pandora
Pandora's widget is just like Pandora.com Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Panic Button Since it's Friday, some of us might be surfing the Web instead of working. That's where the Panic Button comes in. After you install it on Opera, you can place it on your screen while you surf the Web. Whenever you hear the boss coming, simply press the Panic Button, and it will open a new tab automatically. You can pick which site that tab directs you to. In the process, the Panic Button is hidden behind your active windows. It's a must-have if you don't want to get caught at work.

Panic Button
Hit the Panic Button when the boss is around. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Twitter Opera The Twitter Opera widget is a lightweight application that allows you to update your status, see what others are saying, and search Twitter. It's like having the full Twitter experience in a simple widget. I posted updates from the app, and like the site, it updated my stream immediately. I was really impressed by Twitter Opera.

Twitter Opera
Twitter Opera gives you Twitter in a widget. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Wikipedia The Wikipedia widget is one of the most useful tools in the entire Opera widget listing. It's a simple tool--it only has a search box--but it quickly finds articles on Wikipedia that are relevant to your query. As you're typing, it even displays suggestions to help you in your search. When you finally query the widget, the Wikipedia article is displayed in a new tab. It's a great app.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia in a widget is just as useful. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My Top 3

1. Google ToolBar: The power of Google in a lightweight package.

2. Pandora: Listen to tracks while you work.

3. Twitter Opera: It's Twitter in a little widget. It doesn't get much better than that.

Tags:
Software
About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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