Opera 9 is official

After an extensive testing period, Opera has officially unleashed version 9 of its browser.

Opera 9 is official

The new version features support for widgets and BitTorrent-style downloading, as per the public beta released in April (the first technical preview was released in July 2005 – Opera pours itself into BitTorrent).

By the term ‘widgets’ Opera means small Web apps that run directly on the desktop. These can interact with online services – such as news feeds, dictionaries or search engines – and Opera’s hope is that users develop their own .wdgt files (a regular zip file, in reality) using JavaScript, HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets).

Of course this concept is already familiar to OS X users with their Dashboard widgets.

As for BitTorrent support, the company is hoping to make it easier for users to complete the download of popular files – making the most of available bandwidth and reducing the chance of in-transfer delay when multiple users are downloading the same file.

To Opera it will just be another protocol. Alongside existing support for file transfer protocols such as FTP and HTTP, it declares support for BitTorrent as ‘the logical next step in the company’s strategy to make protocols available that increase productivity’.

Other features include improved rich text editing, support for content blocking, and thumbnail previews. Details can be found http://www.opera.com/products/desktop/.

‘For Opera 9, we worked hard to push the limits of what people expect from a Web browser, with increased speed, new Web standards support and innovative features such as widgets and BitTorrent,’ said Opera Software’s CEO, Jon S. von Tetzchner. ‘Even though we shaped this browser for the Web’s future, we have the powerful features people want and need for their surfing today. I truly feel Opera 9 has something for everyone.’

The free download can be obtained here, with versions for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris, among others.

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