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Opera’s desktop browser is known for pushing the envelope of browser design. It was the first to offer the tabs, a speed dial pane and the pop-up blocker experience now standard on most browsers today. But it’s latest innovation is aimed directly at those who love to chat.
Following a mild visual redesign based on its “Reborn” project, Opera has now given its desktop browser users access to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp directly from the browser’s side bar.
While that doesn’t sound like much of an innovation, it’s particularly useful for those who use these services on a daily basis for work and leisure.
A Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp icons now feature prominently on the top of the sidebar. When clicked, they open in a separate strip along the left-hand side of the browser window. Users can then login if so desired, choose to pin it, or collapse it into the sidebar for later access.
Opera browser users can now chat to Messenger or WhatsApp friends while they browse the web
Ultimately, it allows users to have these services open constantly, negating the need for another tab, or getting in the way of other content.
Alongside this addition, Opera’s browser now also features a dark mode for night owls, as well as a slight visual tweak to icons and the Speed Dial page.
Will these changes encourage user growth though?
In terms of browser market share, Stat Counter suggests that Opera owns just 3.5% of desktops compared to Google Chrome’s 53.7% and Apple Safari’s 14.6%. It also continues to languish behind the likes of Internet Explorer.
However, these changes might not be the only examples coming to the browser in 2017.