Over the past few years the developers of the Opera web browser have tried to integrate popular features directly into the browser so that you don’t need to install a plugin. Last year Opera added a built-in ad blocker and VPN (which is really more of a proxy than a true VPN).
Now there’s a new version of Opera, called Opera Reborn and it has a retooled user interface and borrows some features from the experimental Opera Neon browser that launched earlier this year, including another built-in feature: support for three popular messenger services.
You can now access Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Telegram from any page without opening a new browser tab or installing a plugin.
Just tap the icon for your messaging app of choice in the sidebar and a messaging window opens up. Tap the icon again to make it go away. Or you can pin a messaging window to view it in a split-screen view with your browser tabs.
Don’t want to use a feature? Just right-click the sidebar and uncheck the box next to the messenger you don’t need.
Overall it’s actually a pretty nice implementation that could keep you from having to switch back and forth between tabs while chatting with your contacts. But as someone who uses Google Hangouts much more frequently than Facebook Messenger, it’d be nice if there were a way to add other chat services.
Other new features in Opera Reborn include new icons, animations, and two new themes: one light and dark.
Opera Reborn also now automatically reloads a web page when you toggle ad blocking. So if you’re visiting a page that’s laden with ads, you can flip the switch and quickly reload the page without them. This new auto-reload feature should also make life a bit easier if you visit a site that won’t let you view content with an ad blocker enabled.
The browser also now alerts you if you’re attempting to fill in a text form on an insecure page by showing a “Login not secure” warning when you try to enter a password, credit card number, or other data on a website that doesn’t use HTTPS.
The new version of Opera still lacks some of the power user features that made earlier versions of the web browser popular (well, relatively popular). But opera Software co-founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner has those folks covered: last year he launched Vivaldi, a new web browser with a ton of options aimed at folks who prefer a browser that’s customizable to one that’s simple.