Opera 9.6. As always, the latest update includes speed and performance increases, but the update delivers several new features, too. The one new feature that we were really excited to try out is how Opera 9.6 deals with RSS feeds. In this latest version of the browser, you can preview your feeds in an attractive magazine-style layout. But what we really wanted to know is could read your feeds like this once subscribed?Today, Opera revealed the newest version of their web browser,
In Opera 9.6, a new feed preview feature has been introduced that turns any RSS feed into a magazine-style page where the articles in an feed appear as columns. (See image below). With the feeds laid out in this manner, suddenly RSS reading becomes accessible, understandable, and far less geeky than its acronym implies. Although heavy RSS users and techie folks will probably continue to use an RSS reader like Google Reader, a magazine-style layout is a great option for a light reader or someone new to RSS.
Previewing RWW's Feed
In a way, Opera's new magazine-style feature reminds us very much of how the Firefox extension, Feedly, operates. With Feedly installed, you can view your Google Reader feeds in an easy-to-read format while still being able to hop into your different folders. Of course, Feedly does so much more than just change the layout of Google Reader, but that's a whole other topic.
The difference between Feedly's magazine interface and what Opera does is that Opera only displays feeds in this manner when you preview them while deciding whether or not to subscribe. That's disappointing. We were hoping that Opera would include this as a new option under the "Display -> View" settings in Opera's built-in RSS reader, too. Unfortunately, those view settings have remained the same. Feed reading there is still an inbox-like experience, with feeds titles in one window and the articles in a second window. This familiar Outlook format works for some people, we're sure, but to have the magazine-style option here as well would have been a nice treat.
Other New Features
In addition to the preview feeds feature, Opera 9.6 also adds other updates, including the following:
- Expanded Opera Link: Opera Link is one of the browser's best features. With it, you have access to your data from any computer or mobile device. It synchronizes your bookmarks, Speed Dial, notes taken in your Opera browser, and personal bar. With the update to Opera 9.6, Opera Link now lets you take your favorite search engines and browser history with you, too.
- Optimized Opera Mail: Opera's built-in e-mail client, Opera Mail, now includes "low-bandwidth mode" to retrieve mails even faster when bandwidth is limited. This is great for when you're on the road and trying to use your air card in a bad spot where the signal isn't very strong.
- Prioritized e-mail: Opera Mail has two new ways to manage e-mail conversations. Keep an eye on important threads and contacts by following them, or ignore less important threads and contacts with a single click. Looks like you can start to manage your information overload with this.
- Increased speed: Opera 9.6 improves the quick responsiveness and page loading of Opera 9.5.
- Improved fluency: Opera added support for Indonesian, Ukrainian, Estonian, Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil languages.