Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 16th Jun 2009 10:15 UTC, submitted by zegenie
Opera Software A few days ago Opera launched a placeholder website which said they were going to "reinvent" the web, on June 16. Well, it's June 16, and Opera has announced Opera Unite, a technology which allows individual Opera users to connect to one another, turning every machine running Opera Unite into a web server.
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A few notes
by wossman on Tue 16th Jun 2009 17:10 UTC
Member since:

Has anyone commenting here tried Unite yet? I just did and here are a few immidiate observations:

Firstly, I'm a Firefox user. That's just my personal choice. Not a religious statement nor an endorsement of the browser. I simply find it most conducive to the way *I* use the web.

So for me, Unite and Opera are actually one and the same application. If I were to develop a liking for Unite, I'd start Opera to use it then go back to Firefox which I've customized quite a bit with Add-ons I find useful.

So far I've started the File Sharing, Web Server and lounge services. When turning on sharing and the web server I was asked to provide folders to store the content for each service and I did so. Then I was ready to share some files but there appears to be nothing in the Unite GUI to let me add files to the shared folder. It seems I need to leasve the browser window and use my OS to copy files I want to share into the shared folder. (10 demerits)

Secondly, after turning on web sharing Unite displayed a messagge offering to create an "index.html" file in the site. I allowed it to. Then I wanted to edit the file but there seems to be no way to do so from within Opera/Unite and again there's no way in the GUI to add files. (20 demerits)

I have a WordPress blog that I self-host and I'm very impressed with the quality and functionality of the WYSIWYG post editor in version 2.7.x. Would it have been so difficult to implement similar functionality in Unite so users can create and edit pages in place? Again, the need to leave the primary interface (Opera) to generate or change content.

I haven't tried the 'Fridge', media player, or photo sharing yet because they don't initially interest me. But so far I'm very unimpressed.

Also, Opera would have been well advised to partner with an existing social network of it's choice, rather than to reinvent the wheel (not the web ;-)). Facebook has its shortcomings but its relevance in the web's ecosystem is undeniable and it's Facebook Connect platform could be a benefit to a service like Unite.

But in my humble opinion, Unite is yet another half-baked idea executed in a less than ideal manner. I don't see it gaining any more market share than Opera already has with their browser.


Reply Score: 1

RE: A few notes
by FealDorf on Tue 16th Jun 2009 18:47 in reply to "A few notes"
FealDorf Member since:

The technology is "beta" -- which means that; yes - it's "half-baked". I personally feel a sense of prejudice from you - you're rejecting the idea before you give it a try.

Yes, "Unite is Opera" because it's a technology embedded in the browser - that's the very concept. I wouldn't be surprised if I see a plugin replicating it on Firefox as with any technology you find on other browsers.

I haven't used web-server yet; but as it's obviously intended to be a simple webserver it'd require only the index.html...

Lastly it *does* count as "reinventing the web" cuz the fundamental concept in itself is different; it's not a social network it's a web-server in your browser.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A few notes
by wossman on Tue 16th Jun 2009 19:21 in reply to "RE: A few notes"
wossman Member since:

Rejecting the idea before I give it a try? Have you read my post entirely? I've only commented on the parts I *have* tried and I've stated that fact. I'd hope that any group embarking on a project like this would give more thought the user experience before even going to into beta.

The interface as is doesn't strike me as one aimed at power users. Power users can find their way around accomplishing the same goals and usually don't mind (in fact they take pride in being capable of) the extra effort. This seems to me to be a service aimed an unsophisticated users. And to that end, usability is lacking.

I'd imagine that there's a lot riding on this for Opera and the more effort they put into keeping the user captive in their GUI, the stickier the service will be. And that'd be a good thing for them.

All told, what you're sensing from me is actually, disappointment, not prejudice. It doesn't matter to me whether Mozilla or Google released this service. My findings are the same.

But as you aptly point out, it's only a beta and a brand new one at that. Let's see how well they improve it in time.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A few notes
by WorknMan on Tue 16th Jun 2009 22:15 in reply to "A few notes"
WorknMan Member since:

So for me, Unite and Opera are actually one and the same application. If I were to develop a liking for Unite, I'd start Opera to use it then go back to Firefox which I've customized quite a bit with Add-ons I find useful.

See, that's the thing. I don't really see them as the same, even though they are. But does that mean they should be? Why release this as part of the browser? Seems like it would be smaller and lighter if it were standalone. It just doesn't seem to be a good fit. Kind of like throwing a photo editor and CD burner into the same application.

Also, a couple of other issues I see with this:

1. LogmeIn and its ilk have file sharing services like this, but they charge $ for them. How does Opera intend to keep it free and still profit? Will it be ad-supported?

2. If it becomes an avenue for piracy, this service will probably last about an hour before it is shut down by the entertainment/software industry.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A few notes
by bugjacobs on Tue 16th Jun 2009 23:37 in reply to "RE: A few notes"
bugjacobs Member since:

They should definitively make an option where OperaUnite could run as a tray application when the Opera browser was closed. And a small editor for the webserver and filestore .. Maybe they could partner with Coffeecup software :-)

Reply Parent Score: 1