Opera Software released Opera 50 to the Stable release channel today on January 4th, 2018. The new version of the Opera web browser comes with anti-cryptocurrency mining support, improved VR360 support, and other improvements.
The new version of the web browser is already available via the web browser's automatic update functionality and as a separate download on the Opera website.
Opera users who want to upgrade from within the browser need to select Opera > About Opera to do so. The browser runs a check for a new version when the about page is opened and downloads and installs the new version if found automatically.
Users who prefer to download the new version separately can download it from the official Opera website instead.
Websites may load scripts that use the resources of user devices that connect to them to mine cryptocurrency. Users may or may not notice this depending on how this is set up. While some sites and browser extensions use all system resources automatically, others use only part of what is available.
Users may experience slowdowns when using the system, increased power usage, and other adverse effects of the mining operation. Some scripts may even operate once you leave the site.
Opera 50 uses the NoCoin list of known cryptocurrency mining scripts automatically when the built-in adblocker is enabled in the browser.
You can verify that by opening opera://settings/, and making sure that NoCoin is checked under Block Ads,> Recommended Lists. Note that you see the lists only if you enable "block ads and surf the web up to three times faster" in the preferences.
We reviewed Opera's anti-mining feature in December already and suggest you check out the article for additional information.
Opera 50 comes with other exciting features that part of Opera's userbase requested for some time.
The browser supports Chromecast playback in its latest version so that you can cast content using Chromecast devices that you own.
Opera users need to go to Opera > Browser > User Interface and check the "Enable Chromecast Support" option there.
Opera 50 supports the casting of videos, browser tabs or the full desktop display. You start a cast with a right-click on the page, or by using the cast icon on YouTube.
The team improved the Virtual Reality experience and functionality of the browser as well. Opera's VR Player supports Oculus Rift starting with this release. Other VR related improvements include support for software decoding to avoid having to install extensions in some scenarios, automatic format detection for popular sites such as YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo to improve detection, and a dedicated exit button which users may activate to leave the VR Player interface.
Another new feature in Opera 50 is the new "save page as PDF" option. This allows you to save any page as a PDF document. You can access the functionality with a click on Menu > Page > Save as PDF, or with a right-click on the page and the selection of the PDF saving option.
The new option complements the existing print to PDF option that Opera supported for a while. Opera acknowledges that the two different options to create PDF documents of pages may cause some confusion among users. The company notes that the print to PDF option is better suited for printouts while the save to PDF option better for offline reading and archiving.
While Opera is based on the same core as Google Chrome, the two browser's feature sets could not be more different. Opera Software added quite a number of tools to the browser that Chrome and many other browsers don't support by default.
The unit converter, integrated ad-blocker, or VPN need to be mentioned in this regard. While it is possible to add those using extensions or by using third-party software, it is very convenient that they are integrated in the browser directly.
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