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Opera browser tries to make sweet music for the ears of Chromebook users

Bakes in VPN, ad-blocker, even a crypto wallet, and claims it’s the only non-Chrome browser to harmonise with Google’s lightweight lappies

Norwegian web developer Opera has created a version of its software optimised for Google’s ChromeOS.

The company claims the release is “the world’s first alternative browser optimized for Chromebooks”. The announcement of the browser doesn’t really elaborate on that claim, other than to say the application “… was built based on the Opera Browser for Android with custom optimizations that deliver a full-fledged laptop experience while maintaining all of its unique features”.

Among those features are integrated WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger. “This makes it the only browser to offer this functionality on Chromebook,” the post states by way of justification of its optimisation claims.

Would-be users are also told that the inclusion of a VPN, ad-blocker, and “protection from annoying GDPR-related cookie dialogs” will combine to “make your browsing experience smooth and joyful”.

There’s even a built-in crypto wallet.

“This release completes the Opera ecosystem, making Opera available on all major operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and now Chrome OS,” wrote Opera-for-Android Product Director Stefan Stjernelund.

Web-watching service StatCounter rates Opera’s market share at 2.2 per cent across all platforms, with Chrome owning 65 per cent of the market, Apple’s Safari in second place at 18 per cent, Microsoft’s Edge on 3.39 per cent and Firefox at 3.29 per cent.

But the soprano has not yet sung. Stjernelunds’ post noted that 30 million units running Google’s lightweight laptop platform sold in 2020 and 40 million are expected to ship in 2021, creating an opportunity for Opera to find new users and admirers. ®

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