Opera has beefed up the latest version of its desktop Web browser with password synchronization and an option for tighter privacy controls.
Released on Tuesday, Opera version 32 adds the ability to synchronize your passwords from one PC to another. That's a benefit if you run Opera on more than one computer. You can set up a new website password on any PC you own. Then after you run the sync, the password will be available in Opera on your other PCs. The only thing you need to remember is a master password to access your full lineup of website passwords.
Are there any downsides to this new feature? Yes. You do have to set up an online account with Opera to enable the password synchronization. For now, the feature is available only on PCs, so you won't be able to use it on your mobile version of Opera.
In the world of Web browsers, Opera is like the forgotten child who keeps striving to improve and advance, but no one seems to notice. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the dominant player with more than 50 percent of all Web traffic among desktop browsers, according to the latest stats from Net MarketShare. Google's Chrome comes in second with a 30 percent share, followed by Mozilla's Firefox with almost 11.6 percent, Apple's Safari with almost 5 percent and then Opera at the bottom with just 1.3 percent. Fellow Web tracker StatCounter, which puts Chrome in the lead with more than 50 percent, also places Opera at the bottom of the charts with a 1.8 percent share.
Why doesn't Opera have a larger audience? Well, it doesn't come with an operating system the way Internet Explorer comes with Windows or Safari comes with Mac OS. It also doesn't have a major company backing it the way Chrome has Google, and it's not as feature-filled as other browsers such as Firefox. But slowly and surely, Opera continues to innovate. It may not be your go-to Web browser, but it's certainly worth checking out from time to time.
The folks at Oslo, Norway-based Opera also introduced a new option to strengthen privacy and security, according to a blog posted on Tuesday by Opera product manager Zhenis Beiseko.
In March, Opera acquired VPN software maker SurfEasy Inc. The VPN, or virtual private network, software provided by SurfEasy creates a secure "tunnel" for your Web browsing, so all data sent to and from your browser is encrypted. For now, SurfEasy is available as a separate piece of software. But the Opera team is apparently trying to find a way to directly integrate SurfEasy's privacy settings into its browser.
"We're also looking into more privacy opportunities within the browser now that SurfEasy has joined Opera," Beiseko said in his blog post.
As one final enhancement, you can now add animated themes to Opera to spice up the browser.