I am a huge fan of the services that Google offers even though I have found myself switching to other alternatives lately. Mostly because I have found other companies, such as Netvibes for my personalized homepage, that offer better features for what I would like to do.
One thing that has always upset me is that most of Google’s services don’t work properly in Opera. It is a really great browser and many of Opera’s users would probably use Google’s services if they actually worked. The Opera team is dedicated to making their users happy and one thing that they try to do is make sure Gmail is always working, since that is probably the most popular Google service. However, it shouldn’t be up to them to fix the issues.
So here are a list of Google’s services and how well they work in Opera 9.02:
- Google AdWords – Duh! Of course it works…think profit!
- Google Analytics – works great but it is Flash based so I didn’t expect to have any problems.
- Google Calendar – works but you are prompted with a “not compatible” message every time you try and load Google Calendar. If you press “Cancel” at that prompt it will load and function fine. Masking the browser as Mozilla or Internet Explorer prevents the popup but the calendar does not work properly. Google should remove the popup window.
- Google Docs & Spreadsheets – You can’t even try to use the services unless you mask Opera as Mozilla. Once I did that the Google Docs seemed to work great from what I tried but the Google Spreadsheets was virtually unusable. When Writely (the name before Google bought them and called them Google Docs) was being developed they were working on getting support for Opera and actually contacted the Opera team to discuss issues. They resolved many of them but I’m not sure if they ever got to the point of officially supporting Opera. If they didn’t I’m sure that it is no longer a concern.
- Froogle – works great but why wouldn’t it? I mean they have a large sidebar with advertisements so they can make some money!
- Gmail – works very well thanks to the Opera team. They are constantly patching problems that Google creates when changing things in Gmail. However, the Gmail Chat will only work if you mask the browser as Mozilla and after doing so you should be able to chat with people just like in Firefox or Internet Explorer.
- Google Notebook – for starters there is no extension available to use the Notebook inside the browser, but that isn’t really Google’s fault because Opera only supports widgets. The actual Google Notebook page, however, appears to be halfway functional at first but trying to edit a note is impossible.
- Google Page Creator – it prompts you with a message saying that the browser isn’t compatible but masking Opera as another browser quickly bypasses the check. That doesn’t do you much good because none of the links work on the site so you can’t even create a new page.
- Google Personalized Homepage – surprisingly works perfectly. It does seem to load a little slow compared to other browsers though.
- Google Reader – This one absolutely boggles my mind. It is loaded with AJAX and yet it works flawlessly with Opera! There isn’t even a warning saying that the browser is incompatible…it just works! How come the Google Reader team can get things done right?
- Google Video – no problems that I have noticed. Looks like you can even use the web-based uploader!
I was pleasantly surprised at how many Google services do actually work with Opera but there are several popular ones that don’t. I give a lot of credit to the Google Reader team for developing such a powerful web application that works with more than just Firefox and Internet Explorer. Maybe they will spill some of their knowledge over to the other teams.