There aren’t many web browsers that stand out for having truly unique features. These days we’re all looking for a quick and secure browser and pretty much all of the big ones can offer this. After that, there isn’t too much to choose between them. Sure, privacy advocates veer towards Firefox and Apple fanboys use Safari, but it is difficult to put your finger on discernible differences between the offerings of the big web browser developers. That is, apart from Opera.
New features come to the internet all the time but has any web feature had such a huge impact on our daily lives as instant messaging? Who doesn’t have a separate tab or window with either Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp open right now? Well, Opera has long been studying how we use the web and innovating new features designed to accommodate common web practices. The Opera browser now has fully integrated versions of WhatsApp and Messenger built into the browser.
No more switching tabs to message people on WhatsApp or Messenger
One of Opera’s key features for a while now has been its sidebar, which sits stealthily at the left-hand side of the browser. The sidebar gives quick and easy access to common web tools like search, downloads, favorites, etc. Last October, Opera also added two new buttons to the sidebar; the WhatsApp and Messenger chat bubbles.
Clicking the WhatsApp and Messenger icons opens out fully functional and well-designed chat widgets from the sidebar. They offer all the features you’ll find on the web versions of both apps, but sit above the web page you’re currently browsing and only cover about a sixth of the page.
With the integrated messengers being so small, the design is key, and Opera has pulled it off nicely. All the buttons and features are there but they’re tastefully placed in a way that feels right. Contact icons are down the left and hand side, with the conversation taking up most of the display space.
On top of the neat design and full feature sets, the Opera browsers WhatsApp and Messenger integrations offer other key messaging app tools to ensure you’ll never have to leave the web page you’re browsing to check your messages again. You can activate in-browser notifications for incoming messages, pin your favorite chats, mute conversations, or log off from the services altogether.
The key here is that when you get a new message all you have to do is click the icon to the left of your page, read the message, and then respond, should you feel the need. Throughout that whole process, there is no need to switch tab and the web page you’re viewing stays on the screen the whole time.
In the tech world, small things make big differences, but with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger integration, Opera has added a large feature to its browser that creates a smoother workflow and makes it harder to become distracted from what you’re doing. This is more than a big difference; this is a big deal.
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