Word quickly got around that Opera 9.5 Alpha was making its big debut today, and I think it’s time we start our Alpha Addicts Anonymous (AAA) sessions to help cope with our pre-release addictions! The Opera team has delivered on its promise of an early Alpha build for the next major milestone codenamed Kestrel.
I’m not going to restate our detailed review here, but I thought I would recap some of the big announcements for this version:
- Synchronize your bookmarks, Speed Dial sites, and Personal Toolbar with multiple computers.
- Full history search: search the complete content of the webpages you visited directly from the URL toolbar. As you begin typing, Opera will not only search previously visited URLs and page titles, but also the content of the page.
- Thousands of bugs fixed in Opera’s rendering engine, thus improving Opera’s compatibility with many sites.
- Fixed problems seen in various Google’s sites.
- Improved support for Opera on Windows Vista.
- Opera in 64-bit version.
There are many more features included in Opera 9.5, most of which we covered in our review. If you want all the nitty gritty details then you’ll find what you’re looking for in the changelogs (Windows, Unix, Mac).
For those of you wondering how the synchronization feature works exactly this should give you a little bit of insight:
For now Opera Synchronization is doing what “synchronization” would imply – it completely mirrors your bookmarks/speeddial changes, so they can be available on different machines, on-the-fly.
We’re not, in fact, simply uploading/downloading the full bookmark list to our service but rather – we dynamically update the state of them as you go. Therefore, if you chooose to delete items, the changes are propagated through the service to all your browsers that you’ve chosen to sync. (Read: no, it’s not what oSync and FF plugins do, we’re trying to do something more funky here)
Also, some keyboard shortcuts have been changed…one of which I like and another I hate. :) Ctrl+B was previously used for “paste and go” which inserted a URL from your clipboard into the Address Bar, and then executed that URL. The key combination for that is now Ctrl+Shift+V which I’m not too fond of. On the bright side of things you can now focus the Address Bar using the Alt+D shortcut! There is a long list of shortcut changes that keyboard lovers should probably review, some of which were inspired by cross-browser compatibility. Now if only they would make Ctrl+Clicking on a hyperlink open it in a background tab instead of Ctrl+Shift+Clicking.