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Summary:

The beta of Opera 11, released today, continues Opera Software’s tradition of innovating in the browser space by introducing a neat new feature: tab stacking. The idea is that users can stack tabs to group them by site or by theme, reducing clutter.

stacking

The beta of Opera 11, released today, continues Opera Software’s long tradition of innovating in the browser space by introducing a neat new feature: tab stacking. The idea is that users can stack tabs to group them by site or by theme, reducing clutter; something that “taboholics” should appreciate.

Tab stacking is a good idea that’s been implemented well. It works in a very intuitive way: just drag one tab on top of another to build a stack. Hovering your mouse over a tab will cause the stack to expand in a visual preview (as shown in  the screenshot above), while clicking an arrow icon expands the current stack across the tab bar. Tabs can also be dragged from the stack back to the tab bar. Here’s a video of it in action:

In addition to the new tab stacking feature, Opera 11 introduces browser extensions, visual mouse gestures, better HTML5 support and greater performance. Extensions are a very welcome addition, although I find it somewhat surprising that it’s taken Opera this long to include them. Obviously, it will be some time before opera can come anywhere near matching the huge extension ecosystems of Firefox and Chrome that make those browsers so useful. Extensions can be downloaded here.

To test the claims of better performance, I ran the new beta through Mozilla’s Kraken JavaScript benchmark and compared it with 10.63, the current version. Opera 11 beta scored 15227.0ms on my Mac, compared with 10.63′s 15488.2ms. That’s only a fairly small improvement, but Opera is already one of the fastest browsers currently available, so it’s good to see that Opera is continuing to squeeze even more performance out of it.

You can download the beta of Opera 11 here. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.

Let us know what you think of Opera 11 beta in the comments.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):

  1. Opera didn’t really need extensions, because so much was already built in. My frustration with FireFox and Chrome is the amount of time I have to spend hunting down extensions to make them work the way I want — something not needed for Opera.

    I hope that Opera 11 fixes the problems introduced with the 10.x series, which I found to be the buggiest Opera ever.

    I’ve been using it since v4, back when its boast was, “It fits onto a floppy disk.

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    1. What bugs did you find with 10.x, Ralph? I like Opera but somehow it never manages to become my primary browser, so I didn’t use it enough to discover any problems.

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    2. @The instability issues that was in the 10.50 series was fixed in Opera 10.60. The new beta looks rock solid to me. Love the tab stacking – and the mouse gestures is very nice!

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  2. It is an awesome piece of software. Opera is probably the best browser out there – but who cares? With only 2% of market share, Opera will never be on the front line.

    Too bad…

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    1. 2%? Nonsense.

      Opera has more than 140 million users on desktop and mobile. That’s 7% market share, not 2%.

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  3. I love the non-stop FUD, every time Opera takes it up a notch on all the other browsers and adds new innovations and speed for the others to try to copycat…

    This is been happening for years & years on desktop & mobile, but somehow Opera is not on the “frontline”…as if unchosen, bundled market share from an OS or a search engine reflects innovation.

    The extensions talk is funny also; >80% of all FF, Chrome, IE, Safari users don’t even have ONE extension installed…so somehow the 100 unique features built-in to Opera is a weakness…like Rewind, Fast-Fwd, Visual Tabs on-the-side, On-Demand Plug-ins, and now Visual Tab Stacks? Hm.

    And, Simon, you can’t even be bothered to read Opera’s press release about the new On-Demand Plug-ins feature that speeds up your computer, keeps your CPU fan OFF, and saves your battery from Flash & other plugins, unless you need them with one-click? (Especially, given all the talk about Flash, iOS, and MacBook Air battery times.)

    I think GigaOm readers expect more thoroughness.

    Btw, why is Google still browser-sniffing & blocking Opera users from Google Instant & Previews? I guess they’re terrified of fair competition…

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  4. I’ve always been a fan of Opera since their earliest versions. The beta has been working pretty solidly for me, except for a problem with cookies. I’m still investigating whether this is something unique to me or not, but it causes me to re-sign into sites that I shouldn’t have to during the same browsing session.

    Other than that, I’ve been impressed with some of the extensions out there. I particularly like the GMail iOS extension that provides a little more oomph compared to the Google Mail Checker Plus for Chrome/Safari.

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