From the “Huh — that’s an interesting idea” files:
The way that browsers have worked since the time of NCSA Mosaic is as clients to the wider world of the Internet. Opera Software is trying to change that with the alpha release of a technology that includes a Web server in the browser.
Officially called “Unite,” Opera is now including it in a special build of their Opera 10 browser. Initially, Opera sees six key services for Unite, including: File sharing, Web serving, media player, photo sharing, chat and note posting (the Fridge).
It all sounds fine and nice — but in my view, when you boil it down — it’s just a Web server. Sure, it’s a Web server that is automatically set up and accessible via the browser — but it’s still a Web server.
I see no mention of it as a distributed or P2P-type service in any of Opera’s developer specs, which means that whatever it is you’re hosting is hosted locally and using local bandwidth. For small items, that’s fine, but in the new era of metered bandwidth, I think users with large media/photo collections would be wise to think twice before hosting content on their own…