The folks over at Opera have taken the wraps off a new experimental project called Opera Unite, which turns any computer into both a client and a server, allowing users to share content with others over the Internet. Components of the browser-based service include file sharing, photo sharing, a notes exchange system, a shared media player, a chat lounge and the ability to run websites hosted on the user's PC.
None of it is actually new, but by bundling all these features on an easily-managed server within the browser, Opera hopes to make sharing data as simple and easy as surfing the web so that anyone can partake in it. Users control exactly what they want to share and set access as public, private or a password-protected hybrid. While those hosting the content need to be running Opera, people viewing it can do so from within any modern browser, including Internet Explorer or Firefox.
The six initial services represent the beginning of what is possible, according to Opera, which is encouraging developers to create new functionality based on Unite. The effort is quite innovative but with Opera’s tiny browser market share it probably won’t “reinvent the web” as they claim; or perhaps the concept will have a bigger impact if implemented by rival browsers. In any case, an alpha version of Unite can be downloaded from the Opera Labs website if you want to test out the new feature, and a demo video is available after the jump.