I’ve got a feeling that the biggest loser from Google releasing Chrome is going to be Opera. I saw a lot of reviews comparing Chrome to Firefox, Safari and IE, but almost none which mentioned the fact that many of Opera’s design choices and features are part of Google’s Chrome.
Dragging a tab into a new window? Wonderful, but Opera had this first. Admittedly Chrome does it with a tiny bit more style but the fact remains.
Tabs above the address bar? Opera also had this, in fact it’s been a longstanding Opera design feature for years. After using Chrome however Opera’s top menu bar starts feeling a little superfluous.
Home screen? Opera introduced the great Speed Dial feature which I think just about everyone loves. Chrome has a similar home screen, however instead of 9 user-selected sites it displays the 9 most visited websites. Personally I get the feeling that this wasn’t a decision made because this is more functional, but because Google wanted to differentiate themselves from Opera slightly. I would be willing to bet that in future updates Chrome will introduce the option to manually set websites on the ‘speed-dial’.
Omni-bar? Opera has an address bar from which you can search directly (type g for google for example), search through your history (all visited pages are indexed) and favourites. These kind of features are found in most browser now, but Opera (and Flock) was one of the innovators in this space.
Opera has always made a name for itself in simplicity, speed and innovation. Unfortunately for them an incredible amount of development has been going on in the browser space and they’ve been somewhat knocked off their throne when it comes to performance and even innovation.
Google has already equalled Opera’s share of the market and while I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere fast (an extra 1 or 2 percent over the next year) Opera has it’s work cut out in maintaining and growing its user base. The number 2 alternative browser objective also seems just that much further away now.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.