Opera has released a beta version of Opera 11, its latest desktop browser, that offers Firefox-like extensions and a new interface meant to better organize tabs.
The Norwegian browser maker released an alpha version of Opera 11 in late October, and according to the company, testers have already download more than 500,000 extensions for the browser. The company's extensions gallery now offers over 130 separate tools for downloads, and the company says developers are submitting between 10 to 20 new extensions each day.
Opera's new approach to tabs is dubbed "tab stacking". You can now stack tabs atop each other like sheets of paper on a desk, and when you mouse over a virtual stack, you get a preview window showing you what's underneath. Clicking on a tab preview then brings up the tab itself. You can see it in action here:
Opera has long offered the ability to organize tabs into groups, but previously, this was done with an old-school "tree" set-up within the browser's "Windows panel". But tab stacking moves this sort of thing into the browser window proper — and adopts a more visual approach.
Firefox recently added a similar set-up it calls Tab Panorma.
With Opera 11, you can also set plug-ins to load only when they're needed, with Opera claiming this can provide as much as a 30 per cent performance improvement. Extensions and Opera Unite applications are now updated automatically through Opera's standard update mechanism. The address bar has also been refined. And despite its many new tools, Opera 11 is 30 per cent smaller than the existing Opera 10.63.
The new beta is now available for download here for Windows and Mac. ®