Opera Neon: The Web Browser Built For The Future Of The Web

Opera launches Neon, a reimagined desktop browser for Windows, Mac

Opera Software, an Oslo-based company, has developed Opera Neon, an experimental desktop browser for Windows and Mac that tries to reimagine what a modern browser should look like. Opera Neon isn’t an update or replacement of the mainline Opera browser. The features of its main browser have been reimagined for this concept browser that offers a different type of web-surfing experience to users and enjoy a clutter-free display of web content.

“We realized that the current browsers stopped focusing on those Web parts,” Opera product manager Joanna Czajka said in a video about Neon’s release. “They treat the Web like documents in a briefcase, only there for you to manage. It doesn’t sound like a fun way of experiencing the Internet, right?”

Opera’s developers and designers looked for ways to “bring the best parts of the Internet closer to people,” Czajka said. Part of their work involved making changes to the standard browser interface to make it much more interactive for users, she said.

“While Opera Neon has lots of new features — and many of the Opera browser features you know and love — there are some key features we have not included, such as our native ad-blocker, VPN and the ability to add extensions,” executive vice president Krystian Kolondra wrote in a post on the company’s blog. “The reason for this is simply that Opera Neon is a concept browser, built for experimentation and play.”

The moment you open Neon, you will notice its homepage looks far different than any other browsers’. It has no taskbar or bookmarks bars that are found on average browsers. Further, it places your active tabs in bubbles on the right of your screen, instead of the top. It automatically grabs your desktop’s background image and uses that as the background image of your new tabs page. On the left side of the screen is a sidebar that contains tools like an easy screenshot taker and audio and video playback controls. You can also quickly access your recent downloads from the sidebar.

Even though it includes shortcuts to bookmarks and top websites, they are displayed as floating bubbles that are overlaid on your desktop wallpaper. There’s no discrete address bar either; there’s just a line above all the floating balls asking you to either search or enter an address.

However, the highlighting feature of Opera Neon is its split-screen mode that displays two browser tabs side-by-side, which is the perfect feature for computers with very large screens. To enter into the split-screen mode, one should drag visual tabs to either side of the display panel for simultaneous browsing. There is also another feature that lets users quickly crop any part of a Web page to take a snapshot they can save to the browser’s gallery for later viewing or sharing.

For now, Neon remains experimental, “a vision of what browsers could become,” Kolondra added. However, “we do plan to incorporate some of its best new features into Opera for computers as early as spring 2017,” he said.

Opera Neon has been released as a free download for both Windows and Mac. It can be downloaded here.

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