When it comes to preferred web browsers, most people pick from a list consisting of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and, surprisingly, Internet Explorer. But Opera has been offering reasons to switch to its browser for some time now. And with its latest version, called Opera Reborn, the company is adding another interesting new feature: messaging apps built directly into the browser.
Originally part of its experimental Neon browser used to test out unconventional ideas, the feature has now been ported over to the new and refreshed Reborn browser. Users can pin Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram messaging apps to the updated sidebar, allowing quick access to conversations without having to switch between windows or apps. While hitting alt-tab may not seem like a big deal for most people, there will likely be those who appreciate not having to leave their current page to chat.
Reborn also brings a revamped look to the browser with several new UI improvements, such as light and dark color themes. Tabs have been simplified to make them easier to locate and open, and animated icons have been added - the most visible one plays when private mode is enabled.
Opera’s built-in ad-blocking tech, which arrived last year, gets some upgrades in Reborn, such as extra blacklist options. Graphics and security are also beefed up in the latest version, with in-form warnings for sensitive fields when the page isn’t using HTTPS.
Opera’s free, unlimited VPN also makes the jump to Reborn, and while it's not necessarily as secure or private as paid-for VPNs, does offer an extra layer of privacy.
Like Vivaldi, Opera faces an uphill challenge when it comes to wrestling away users from the big browsers, but each new iteration sees it become a more compelling alternative.