Opera Software, just like Google or Mozilla, decided to make available three different Opera release channels to provide developers and enthusiasts with options to test new features before they reach the stable build, and get some data and bug reports from the community in return.
We are currently still waiting for Opera Dev to be released, while both stable and next builds of the browser are already available. Opera Dev will be what Chrome Dev is for the Chrome browser, and Aurora for Firefox. It won't be like Firefox Nightly though which may get updates several times a day depending on how active Mozilla is.
For now, Opera Next is the cutting edge version of the Opera browser, and it is this browser that got upgraded to version 16 today. This would not really be important but it is the first release with a 16 in front, which makes it somewhat special.
The release is not officially announced yet and it is not clear if it ever will be. If you are running Opera Next, you may receive it via auto-update. If you do not want to wait that long, you can head over to the Opera ftp server and download it from there.
Note: There is no "check for updates" feature built-into Opera (yet). What this means is that you will get the update when it is your turn to get it. The only way to speed things up is to download the latest version manually and install it. The reason behind this apparently is to avoid the servers being hammered by user requests.
A change log has not been posted (yet) and you will be hard pressed finding any changes to previous versions of the browser. There is one that I was able to find out about, but it is not the long awaited bookmarking feature or other features of Opera 12.x that are still missing in Opera 16.
You can enter opera:flags into the address bar to display experimental features that you may enable or disable here. This is similar to Chrome's experimental flag (chrome:flags).
It allows you to enable several interesting features, including:
There are 56 experiments in total listed on the page, of which some may not be available for the platform you are using. For Opera Next on Windows 7, 53 of the 56 were available while three were not. Changes take effect after a restart of the browser.
Opera Next is a beta version that is still in development. It is very likely that we will see the missing bookmarking capabilities land in Opera 16 before it reaches stable status. (via Deskmodder)
Update: The official announcement has been posted on the desktop team blog. The release includes a number of changes according to it:
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