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Desktop Opera switches to WebKit

Opera Next also gains new and improved features

Opera has unveiled its first desktop browser that uses the Chromium engine instead of Opera’s own Presto.

Opera revealed its intention to switch to WebKit in February with its first WebKit-based browser, Opera for Android, released earlier in May. With Opera using the Chromium engine, the browser will ‘automatically’ switch from WebKit to Blink once that engine is in the wild.

According to Opera, the Chromium engine gives users a “standards-compliant and high-performance browser", and Opera’s Off-Road mode (previously Opera Turbo) “now supports SPDY protocol and enables loading web pages faster, even in the toughest of network conditions”.

Other changes in this latest release include a revamped Speed Dial that supports folders, which Opera said provides users with the means to “experience the power of visual Speed Dial entries combined with the flexibility and organisation of a classic bookmark folder”. ‘Discover’ and ‘Stash’, respectively, add in-context content and storage for pages you want to compare. Additionally, the address/search bar is now unified, the UI’s generally been spruced up and the Mail client’s now a separate app, Opera Mail.

On the new release, Opera's software SVP of desktop products, Krystian Kolondra, said, “Completely rethinking a browser in today's competitive market is a big thing. Our new browser is more beautiful and allows users to harness the massive amount of web content they are faced with today.”

Opera Next can be downloaded from the Opera website. The company is openly courting feedback.

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