Recently, when I started up Opera, it updated to 10.5. I noticed a huge cosmetic change. Observe:
Yes, they have copied the GUI setup from Chrome. The tabs are now above the address bar. Now, they still have a separate search bar like Firefox, but this is a pretty big change. Also, although I can’t share it in a screenshot, they have changed the tab animations so they are really slick like in Chrome. Overall, the animations are one of those things that really add to the experience without doing much. It just feels nice to have things slide in and out rather than pop into existence. They also seem to have REALLY sped up the startup to the point where Opera is once again a joy to use. They also made a change to the way the text searching works:
This is freakin’ brilliant! Oftentimes when I’m using Firefox I find myself using control-F to find something, but I still can’t see where on the screen the word is being highlighted. With Opera, it dims the entire browser screen so that the lime green on the text it’s finding is VERY clear. Also, I am pretty sure this is the first time that Opera is implementing inline searching. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the default in previous 10.x releases was the old Internet Explorer style where a dialog box came up and it didn’t start searching until you hit enter. Inline searching, which I first experienced with Firefox, was such a revolutionary idea – you only type as much as you need to make your search unique – that I can’t stand any other way of searching anymore. So I’m glad to see Opera on the bandwagon. Opera was the first with lots of ideas like tabbed web browsing and speed dial. Everyone else apes them and gets all the credit. (I remember people making a big fuss of Chrome and Safari’s speed dial features) It’s nice to see that Opera isn’t afraid to also take from others when it’s clearly a better way to do things. They really have reinvigorated my fondness for the browser and, for the first time, I’m strongly considering installing it on my Linux machines.