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Curtain rises on Opera 9

Newest version of browser offers specialized Web-based widget programs, BitTorrent support and pop-up ad blocking. Video: A tune-up for Opera Images: BitTorrent and more

Opera Software on Tuesday released the newest version of its popular browser, which is designed to offer several improvements over its predecessors.

Opera 9, which had been in beta since April, includes features designed to improve the efficiency of Web surfing, enhance security and allow users greater control over the content they view.

Opera 9 Opera 9 aims to allow users to relaunch their browser where they last left off, as well as block advertisements on a site-specific basis. Other content-related features include widgets, or small Web programs, designed to help users organize their browsing preferences, play games or follow sports teams.

(To read a review of Opera 9, click here. To see a slide show, click here. A copy of the browser software is available

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Video: Latest salvo in browser wars
Opera fine-tuned and released

A security bar has also been added to Opera 9, a response to the prevalence of phishing scams and identity theft. The security bar aims to reduce users' encounters with phishing scams and also includes technology to strengthen blocking of pop-up advertisements.

Opera 9 also offers a thumbnail feature, which enables users to mouse over an open tab to see a thumbnail preview of the page

Opera 9, which is offered as a free download, runs on a variety of platforms, from Windows to Mac to Linux. It also supports BitTorrent's file distribution technology.

"For Opera 9, we worked hard to push the limits of what people expect from a Web browser," Jon von Tetzchner, Opera Software chief executive, said in a statement.