About two weeks I provided a brief review of Opera 10. This release is still in beta but a new feature has been added that has been named “Opera Unite.” Opera claims that this innovative feature will “re-invent the web.” I don’t think so. Unites imply integrates a webserver into the browser. Webservers are an old idea. In fact, before the Internet was invented we had “Bulletin Board Systems” which provided similar functionality.
What can you do with a webserver? Basically your computer becomes a website and can be accessed from other computers with a browser. Opera offers three levels of service, photo sharing, file sharing and full website serving. Keep in mind that all of this can be provided by third party vendors. Dropbox, for example, will give you a similar ability to share files and provides 2 GB of free space. This blog is hosted by a remote server at a cost of about $8 a month. The downside of using your own computer as a server is that it shuts down when your offline. On the other hand, it is free, there is no storage limit and your computer has a static (unchanging) URL.
When you use Unite, others using the service are displayed to you. This hints that Opera is seeking to become a provider of a social networking service. This could be quite popular. So far I have not been able to connect to anyone displayed on my screen, so this feature is still buggy.
No, Opera has not re-inveted the web, but the concept is innovative and should be very useful at times. Try it out. BTW: On my linux system I found that the Linux “tarball” could be uncompressed and the resulting binary could be run without installation. A nice way to test beta software.