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Opera browser's Speed Dial feature gets new 'extensions' with live updates

June 28, 2011 |  5:51 pm

OperaSpeedDial

Opera's eponymously-named desktop Web browser was updated Tuesday with a few new features more popular rivals might take notice of -- in particular its Speed Dial extensions.

Opening the Norwegian company's latest browser release, Opera 11.50, takes users to a landing page with thumbnails of websites a user visits frequently, which Opera calls Speed Dial. But Speed Dial is nothing new. Opera's had this feature for a bit, and Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer 9 each offer similar options.

Opera 11.50's Speed Dial extensions work like desktop widgets and other Web apps. Speed Dial extensions fill a thumbnail with live, updated information instead of a simple thumbnail to a website.

The approach is similar to Microsoft Windows Phone 7's live tiles, which provide active data rather than a static icon.

Opera has 662 Speed Dial extensions available for download in its extension catalog. More extensions that take advantage of the ability to have live animations and data feeds are on the way from developers worldwide, said Thomas Ford, an Opera spokesman.

Among the current options are RSS newsfeeds, weather updates, live-updating email extensions and others that display photo collections in a Speed Dial box.

The updated browser also has a slight redesign for a cleaner, less cluttered look of buttons. It also has the addition of Opera Link, which remembers and syncs Speed Dial extensions, bookmarks, user names and passwords across any Opera browser a user logs into, on any device -- for example, across a home laptop, a work PC, a tablet and even a smartphone.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Opera 11.50 and some of its new Speed Dial extensions. Credit: Opera Technologies

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