Faster and Safer – Opera

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a copy of the Opera Browser on any computer that I’ve owned.  There was always something pleasingly different about the experience.  I think I was first intrigued by its concept of gestures which we now take as normal.  Such is the result of good innovative practices.  When you develop content for the web, before adhered to standards, it was always wise to test your pages on a variety of browsers to make sure that they displayed properly.  Plus, with my family heritage, there was just something cool about a browser originating from a Scandinavian country.

In the most recent incarnation of the browser, they have dropped their Presto rendering engine in favour of building on the Chromium code.  The end result was a faster and more memory efficient “Chrome” than the Google browser.  While I still have Chrome installed, I find that I use Opera whenever I want to work in that world.  The extensions from the Chrome repository work nicely once you give them the OK from inside the Opera browser.

The turbo mode where data is compressed makes things hop when I use the browser on my very slow service.  So, what’s not to like?  I also used to add AdBlock Plus as an extension just to speed up the process; there’s nothing that exaggerates a slow internet connection than those overly aggressive advertisements that rob you from browsing time.  Within the past month, I’ve switched Advertising blockers and now use uBlock Origin which seems to be more efficient in its operation.  To be honest, I was quite happy with either of these combinations.

But, over the weekend, I read this blog post on the Opera website.

Introducing native ad-blocking feature for faster browsing

It’s a very good read and there have been lots of conversation about this move.  Advertising is so important to driving the web.  Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by using ad blockers and/or a browser like this?

And, just how big is the advertising problem?  Well, Opera says it uses the EasyList as its source for what to block.  It’s no small list – click here to see it!  

The Opera website has an interesting page devoted to its security and privacy options.  It’s a good read.  

Turning on the blocker is just a click in the Privacy and Security settings.

I checked it out with a website that I visit daily.  Granted, I have my own ad blocker do the work but I turned off everything and just let Opera do its thing and report the results.

And, of course, I’m intrigued by running the speed test.  How much difference does blocking 96 ads make?  (As I was doing this, one more was blocked so the total ends up being 97).

That’s a pretty significant difference!  That’s for just a single page.  Imagine how it adds up when you start poking around in the site.  As a side note, I’d be willing to bet your times would be significantly faster – your choice of an internet server provider makes all the difference in the world.

Changes in the browsing world are generally started with one browser and then replicated by others.  Clearly, the popularity of ad blocking extensions has caught Opera’s eye and the public is voting by installing them.  Do you think that this new bit of innovation will be replicated by other browsers?  Does it matter to you?

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