Opera offers Turbo to speed up slow Web browsing

The Norwegian company uses its own servers to compress data and boost browsing speed over slow connections. Opera Turbo will be built into its future browsers.

Browser maker Opera Software has released a test version of software called Opera Turbo, designed to use compression and the company's own servers to speed browsing over slow Internet connections.

Opera Turbo is useful when grappling with overtaxed wireless networks, slower broadband wireless cards, or Net connections through a mobile phone, the company said.
Opera Turbo is useful when grappling with overtaxed wireless networks, slower broadband wireless cards, or Net connections through a mobile phone, the company said. Opera

Opera Turbo runs on a person's PC, fetching data not just from the original Web site but also from an Opera server that compresses that site's text and images on the fly, Opera's Roberto Mateu said in a Friday blog post about Opera Turbo.

That's useful when grappling with overtaxed wireless networks, slower broadband wireless cards, or Net connections through a mobile phone, the Norwegian company said, recommending that people test Opera Turbo with connections in the range of networks transferring data at about 100Kbps.

The compression can shrink the data by up to 80 percent, according to Opera's video explanation, in part because it modifies image files.

"Web sites' layout and text will look exactly the same, but image resolution may appear considerably lower, as a result of the compression," Mateu said in the post.

More elaborate Web sites that use advanced JavaScript techniques and Adobe's Flash technology, however, might require manual intervention to work via Opera Turbo. "Dynamic Web technologies such as Ajax and Flash are supported, but some plug-in content will load only after clicking on the empty element," he said. Encrypted sites aren't accelerated or sent through the Opera servers.

The Turbo software is available from the Opera Labs download site but will be included in "future desktop versions" of Opera, Mateu said.

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