Opera Max is a standalone Opera Off-Road Mode app for Android

Opera was the first company to introduce a compression feature to its web browser. It was called Opera Turbo back in the days and was shipped with all desktop versions of the browser (there were no mobile versions available until later).

Opera users could enable or disable Opera Turbo with a simply flick of a switch in the browser. Enabled, it would redirect all incoming traffic through Opera servers where contents were compressed and optimized before they were transferred to the user's computer.

The main advantage here was that this reduced what needed to be downloaded to display websites in Opera. While often used in low bandwidth situations, it also had its used as a proxy server of sorts as it hid the IP address of the user in many situations.

Opera Turbo was renamed to Off-Road Mode some time ago, but nothing else changed. The feature is still available in all desktop version of Opera, and also in mobile versions.

Opera Max

Opera Software announced Opera Max today. It is a standalone application that brings Opera Off-Road Mode functionality as an app to Android.

Opera Max uses a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to measure all the data usage on your phone. Once Opera Max savings is enabled, all data requests are sent through our compression servers that optimize video, images, and websites to use less data. We only measure how much data you use and how much data you’ve saved.

opera max 2 opera-max

The company is looking for beta testers in the US currently who would like to test the application.  To join the beta, you need to complete the following steps:

  1. Join the Opera Community page for Opera Max on Google Plus. A Google+ account is required to do so. You can do so even if you are not in the US at the time of doing so.
  2. Become a beta tester for Opera Max for Android on this Google Play page. This is also possible from anywhere in the world and not limited to the US.
  3. Download the Opera Max beta app for Android from Google Play. Note that you won't be able to complete this step if you are not located in the US currently.

Notes

  • The application will only save HTTP traffic and not encrypted traffic or traffic caused by other protocols.
  • Opera Max is app-independent, which means that it will work with every application provided that it is plain HTTP traffic.
  • The service is free during the beta, but will be paid when it is released. Paid does not necessarily mean that users have to pay money for it, as there seems to also be an option to watch ads to do so.
  • The test is currently limited to the US and Android, but Opera Software has plans to expand to other platforms and markets.

Closing Words

Opera Max is not the first application that compresses your phone's traffic. There is the Opera web browser for Android for example that can do so, but also standalone apps such as Onavo Extend.

Update: An Opera representative just told me that Opera Max compresses video, something that other applications do not do. This feature sets the app apart from other apps in its vertical. Considering that video contents use more bandwidth -- a lot -- than images or web pages, it is fair to say that this improves the potential of the app significantly.

I was also informed that Opera Max does not store actual data usage, only how much data is being used, and how much data is being saved by using the save. Opera Software in addition to this has no plans to sell or utilize and user-targeting data to outside companies.

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Responses to Opera Max is a standalone Opera Off-Road Mode app for Android

  1. Anon December 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I always wondered about the safety implications of Opera Turbo, and therefore this new method, specially with ads being into the equation. Just what can they know about the user?

    ...remember when the Internet was something you didn't need to think about very much during its usage...? Nowadays everyone is out for our data to serve lame advertisements, or people trying to see if we break the law in some way.
    Passing all my traffic through a third party server makes me feel as safe as using Tor. Which is about as safe as having a crowd reading your personal mail with banking passwords over your shoulder. Which is not safe at all.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 19, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Well since all traffic passes through, they may know a lot about users who use it. But that depends on whether they log traffic or even use the information for other purposes.

      I have fired off an email to Opera, lets see if we can get a clarification on this one.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 6, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Got an answer, updated the article.

  2. Dear Lord December 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    @Anon

    Seriously? What about cloud storage?

  3. Tytyryty December 19, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    You can also try Onavo or Hola.org to accelerate the Internet.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 19, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      I found those Internet accelerators -- not speaking about the ones you mentioned -- more snake oil than helpful.

  4. Another December 19, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    Martin is there another software like that for windows? i mean besides opera/turbo

    • Martin Brinkmann December 19, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      There is Google Web Accelerator, but it is only compatible with XP and Vista it appears, and no longer maintained by Google.

      .....

      Ups: Server does not appear to be available anymore, Link removed.

  5. Jacob Groß December 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Can someone give me the APK download? It's not compatible with the Galaxy Nexus, but I highly assume it is and they just somehow went retarded...

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