Opera Software released a new version of the company's Opera desktop browser to the public today. Opera 72.0 Stable is all about music, or more precisely, integrating some of the most popular music services directly in the browser.
Opera users may control music playback directly from the sidebar, and Opera Software believes that this is more comfortable than having to control playback from a browser tab or a standalone application.
The integration uses Opera's sidebar implementation that has been expanded widely in recent releases. This year, Opera Software integrated direct access to Instagram and Twitter to the sidebar, complementing the already available Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp messenger services.
The music player integration works similarly but it is grouped together under a new player icon in the sidebar. A click on the icon displays the supported services -- Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music -- and a click on a service opens the site of the service in the sidebar.
All that is left then is to sign-in to an account or create a new account, and start using the service from the sidebar. Music playback is controlled from the sidebar, but options to use media keys if supported are also available.
Opera Software designed the player with other web activity in mind. If a user plays a video or other audio in open browser tabs, sidebar music playback is paused automatically and resumed automatically when the video or audio stream.
Users have full manual control over music playback as well. All it takes is to hover over the music player icon in the sidebar to get controls and information about the song that plays currently.
The controls support pause/resume, move on to the next or go back to the previous song. There is no need to open the full player interface for these controls, as they appear on hover automatically.
Opera users may sign-in to multiple supported services using the new player functionality. The feature to switch to another service is a bit hidden at first; you find a small down-arrow icon next to the icon of the service that is displayed currently in the title bar. A click display all supported services and an option to switch to another.
Opera users may hide any of the sidebar icons if they don't use them. Sidebar extensions are also available to integrate other services in the sidebar directly.
You can check out the official blog post here. Download links for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are also provided on the page.
If you like to play music while you are using your computer, you may find the new sidebar player useful as it makes everything a tad easier to control for many users. Those who are using media keys may not get the same mileage out of the new feature but those who controlled playback in a tab in the browser, will.
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