“Browsers had to be Reinvented in Order to Stay Relevant”: Opera SVP
It is perhaps the most innovative browser we have seen for a while, complete with a colorful and interactive interface. But what inspired Opera Software to venture into something as radical as Opera Neon? Nimish Dubey talked to Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president, Opera for computers, to get answers to that, and other questions.
Krystian Kolondra, SVP for Opera for computers
Why do you think the world needs a different browser? I mean, you already have Opera. Why make a new brand?
Back in the early days of the Internet, the Web was mostly made up of documents and pages. But now there are exciting innovations in Web technologies and design that are giving us faster and more immersive online experiences. However, when it comes to the user experience, computer, Web browsers have not evolved and endorse the same format from their infancy. We believe browsers had to be reinvented in order to stay relevant for the new generation. We developed the Opera Neon concept browser by challenging our own 20-year-old legacy. Through this initiative, we wanted to showcase our vision for the future of the web and compel the browser industry to rethink how modern web browsers should be. It is similar to the way concept cars predict the future of automobiles.
We plan to use Opera Neon as a test bed for new ideas, but at the same time we will also start introducing these in the Opera browsers piece by piece.
What was the inspiration for the new browser? Why the bubbles in particular?
We found that people are much more engaged when the interface is interacting with them, and the interface feels like a “real thing.” With Opera Neon, we have completely changed the approach towards tabs and introduced bubbles. Bubbles can behave like real things and are much more enjoyable for people than normal tabs. They have weight and move in a natural way when dragged, pushed, or even popped.
We also know that some people always have many tabs open. To help them focus on the currently used websites, we built an intelligent system to automatically manage your tabs. The bubble tab in the Opera Neon browser will give you a sense of gravity. What’s important to you stays and floats on top, while gravity slowly pulls less relevant things away.
Why do you think should someone try out the new browser? A compelling reason!
It is first of its kind and is beautiful. We think Web browsers for computers can play a role to bridge the mobile-first generation seamlessly from app-based Internet experiences to browser-based (ones). People can watch videos, chat on Facebook Messenger and do online shopping on one screen at the same time. Performing these tasks requires three different apps on a mobile phone. On a computer, all you need is one app: the browser.
What is your own favorite feature of the browser?
My favorite is the sidebar, which has shortcuts to the video player, crop to snap feature, image gallery and download manager. Crop to snap allows you to crop and snapshot any part of a web page and save it to the image gallery for later use. You don’t need to download and install an extension to do it.
There are some people who have said that Neon would be awesome on tablets and phones. Any plans for that?
We agree touch enabled devices will work beautifully with Opera Neon. However at this moment, Opera Neon will remain a concept browser for desktop, a playground for ideas not yet ready to be implemented in the Opera browser.
There are no add ons or extensions yet for Neon. Any plans for that in the coming days?
We do not have any immediate plans to include add-ons or extensions because Opera Neon is a concept browser.
The big question: are we going to see Neon blend into Opera at some stage or will it stay as a separate entity – a concept browser?
The answer is both. Opera Neon is not designed to replace the current Opera desktop browser. However, we do plan to incorporate some of its best new features into Opera for computers as early as spring 2017. Opera Neon will remain as a concept browser, a test bed for ideas not yet ready to be implemented in the Opera browser.
You have a whole family of browsers now: Opera, Opera Mini, Coast and Neon. What’s next?
We consider all our products compelling and cater to different needs. Take the latest Opera Mini for example, it gives a great edge in terms of speed and cost-effective browsing experience by leveraging our data compression technology and providing relevant localized content – such as bollywood and cricket content cards. Keeping the requirements of Indian users in mind, it supports 13 Indian languages in its user interface and provides news content in Hindi and Tamil. In the near future, we hope to implement AI technology inside the browser to facilitate a more engaging browsing experience. Stay tuned for our next update!