Opera claims that it has 20 million users of its Opera web browser and that 500,000 people have tried out the early development releases of Opera 9.5.
Not too shabby.
There a few key things coming in Opera 9.5, among them are some really interesting (and fully integrated) syncing capabilities. The idea is that you can sync bookmarks and other data using the Opera Link service to move your data with you to another machine or even to a mobile phone. Sounds a bit like Mozilla Weave (or even del.icio.us), the difference though is tha this isn’t an add-on, it’s fully baked into the browser.
They’ve also made search improvements with a ‘Quick Find’ feature that lets you search through your history (Mozilla is doing that too for Firefox 3 with its Places engine).
Then of course there is performance — which is something that every browser vendor is trying to continuously improve and Opera is no different.
“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made towards the release of Opera 9.5,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software in a statement. “We’ve had contributions from millions of people who use Opera. Their suggestions for improving features, for crushing bugs have helped reach this milestone. We welcome their continued candor, suggestions and feedback as we improve Opera 9.5 ahead of its final release.”
With a new Firefox coming soon, Apple out with Safari for Windows and IE 8 in active development, Opera 9.5 (when becomes finalized later this year) will be entering a very challenging market. Then again, Opera has always had an uphill battle, so the current environment is nothing to new.