By Robin Wauters
We told you last week that browser maker Opera was generating quite some buzz by being secretive about their plans to ‘reinvent the web’. Well, the company Tuesday morning unveiled what it was referring to: technology that essentially turns every computer running the Opera browser into a full-fledged Web server. Behold Opera Unite.
You can use Opera Unite to share documents, music, photos, videos, or use it to run websites or even chat rooms without third-party requirements. The company extended the collaborative technology to a platform that comes with a set of APIs, encouraging developers to create their own applications (known as Opera Unite services) on top of it, directly linking people’s personal computers together, no matter which OS they are running and without the need to download additional software. The company recognizes that the current services are fairly basic, but says this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We’ll take a deeper dive in Opera Unite real soon, but I’m impressed with what it looks like on the surface. This is a really good idea at its core, and I encourage you to read Opera product analyst Lawrence Eng’s blog post on the subject for more background and an idea of where Opera is heading with the concept. A small excerpt:
Currently, most of us contribute content to the Web (for example by putting our personal information on social networking sites, uploading photos to Flickr, or maybe publishing blog posts), but we don’t contribute to its fabric — the underlying infrastructure that defines the online landscape that we inhabit.
Our computers are only dumb terminals connected to other computers (meaning servers) owned by other people — such as large corporations — who we depend upon to host our words, thoughts, and images. We depend on them to do it well and with our best interests at heart. We place our trust in these third parties, and we hope for the best, but as long as our own computers are not first class citizens on the Web, we are merely tenants, and hosting companies are the landlords of the Internet.