Opera has finally lift the veil and introduced the "thing" that would reinvent the Internet. It goes by the name Opera Unit and will be a part of the upcoming Opera 10 web browser. Opera Unite basically offers web server capabilities right in the web browser which allows users to share data and files on the Internet but also to host chat rooms, online applications and even complete web projects. The main difference between Opera's approach and the standard approach is that Opera establishes direct client to client connections without data being hosted in the cloud on third party servers.
Opera Unite is modularized and comes with so called services that can be installed to extend the functionality. This may remind many users of Firefox add-ons but it is actually a completely different technology that requires more than just clicking on an install link. Currently seven services are offered, they are:
- Media Player - Accessing the music collection from anywhere on the Internet.
- File Sharing - A way of sharing files directly between users.
- Fridge - A note leaving application that other people can use to leave notes on a computer system.
- Web Server - Hosting a web server from the local computer system.
- Photo Sharing - Share photos without uploading them first.
- The Lounge - A chat interface hosted on a computer system.
The Opera team has created a user guide to get users started with Opera Unite. Opera Unite is available as a separate preview release which can be downloaded for all supported operating systems from the Opera Labs website. The download will actually replace the current version of Opera 10 if the user decides to install it in the same installation directory.
Opera Unite is then available in the left panel after installation. Starting the actual home server requires an Opera account. A homeaddress is assigned to every user signing up for Opera Unite in the from "http://computername.username.operaunite.com/" with the user selecting the computer name. The username will be the Opera username.
Once that has been setup the service that has been selected by the user gets setup. Setup of the file sharing module for example requires the selection of a directory on the local computer that will be used for that purpose. Each service that has been activated can then be accessed from the created homepage if the user accessing it has sufficient rights to do so.
The file sharing page on the server is for example protected by a password by default which can be changed in the root home directory. It offers three different access rights which make it possible to allow public access (everyone can access them), private access (only the root user can access the files) or password protected access.
Opera Unite offers something that web browsers do not offer out of the box. The usefulness of the service on the other hand depends largely on the user's system configuration. If the user runs an home server then it might not be needed to run Opera Unite as well. Users who prefer to access everything from one program might find Opera Unite helpful especially if the developers and users begin to add new modules to the service. Not really a reinvention of the Internet but a nice service nevertheless.Advertisement