Singing the praises of Opera’s new privacy features

Gareth Saunders
Friday 20 May 2016

Singing the praises of Opera’s new privacy features

I have long been a fan of everyone’s favourite “other other other browser”, as The Register put it this week, Opera.

Opera uses the same rendering engine as Google Chrome, which means that webpages work just as well in Opera as they do in Google. Opera really deserves more than its current 1.3% market share for desktop browsers (data from W3C browser statistics, correct as of 24 April 2016). Two recently added features may help propel it more into public view:

  1. Advert blocking
  2. Free virtual private network (VPN)

Block adverts

Last month, Opera introduced native ad-blocking. This means that you can, without relying on a browser plugin, block all internet adverts from the websites you visit. Not having to wait for adverts to download inevitably results in a faster browsing experience. It also improves your security as website adverts are often linked to tracking cookies which record your visits to certain sites and are the reason why you often see adverts for products you’ve viewed on other sites, even days before.

Better privacy

This month, Opera pushed the security agenda even further and in their developer version of Opera have now introduced a free VPN (virtual private network) service, using SurfEasy (whom they purchased in March).

This is a big deal. Opera are, in their own words, “the first major browser maker to integrate an unlimited and free VPN”.

According to Global Web Index, more than half a billion people (24% of the world’s internet population) have tried or are currently using VPN services. According to the research, the primary reasons for people to use a VPN are:

  • To access better entertainment content (38%)
  • To keep anonymity while browsing (30%)
  • To access restricted networks and sites in my country (28%)
  • To access restricted sites at work (27%)
  • To communicate with friends/family abroad (24%)
  • To access restricted news websites in my country (22%)

According to the research, young people are leading the way when it comes to VPN usage, with almost one third of people between 16-34 having used a VPN.

(Source: Free VPN integrated in Opera for better online privacy)

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