Two of my favorite browsers just had major updates: Firefox 3.0 and Opera 9.5

I use 2 browsers every day: Firefox and Opera. The sequence used to be Opera and Firefox but more on that later. Both browsers just had major updates -- Opera to version 9.5 and Firefox to the hyperhyped (is that a word?) and much anticipated version 3.0.

Opera 9.5

Opera 9.5 is just as solid as it has always been. I like the one-key shortcuts ("Z" to go back, "1/2" to switch tabs) but they are turned off by default in this version so I had to change the settings. The zoom feature is better than the one in Firefox. The browser has a smaller memory footprint and uses less resources when loaded with multiple tabs (30-40+), for example, when I read the 40 newspaper front pages from Newseum. The biggest drawback of Opera? It does not work well with Google services. Firefox feels like it was made for Google (because it was). Opera has other useful features such as sessions and online bookmark synchronization between different computers.

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3 is a great browser -- much faster than the previous version and it works seamlessly with Gmail, Reader, YouTube, Blogger, etc. The only extensions I have installed are Google Toolbar and Gears (for offline access to Google Docs).

At the beginning of the post, I mentioned that Opera was my browser of choice, then Firefox, but that sequence had reversed. Several years ago, Opera was the first real alternative to Internet Explorer and the major innovator in the browser field. The tabs were first launched in Opera, for example (see the video below). However, Opera does not work very well with Google services, and Google "rules" the online world. Firefox is an excellent browser (with an even better PR team), so if you do not have it on your computer yet, you should give it a try.

Video: Opera browser 12-year history

Web OS May Be Everything You Need for Day-to-Day Work
Portable Firefox on a USB Drive
Newseum Shows Front Pages of 600 Newspapers from Around the World
Largest online database of keyboard shortcuts
Review: Opera 9.5 -- a fine browsing alternative. Computerworld, 06/2008.


  1. "Firefox feels like it was made for Google (because it was)."

    Firefox was made for Google? How's that?

  2. Engineers from Google work at Mozilla and vice versa. Just search for "Firefox team Google" for more information. Opera never enjoyed such a cosy relationship.

  3. More:

    "It's not surprising to see Google developing tools for Firefox that don't work with IE. Google has a close relationship with Mozilla that involves technology collaborations and cross-promotion efforts."

    Make Google Services Opera-Friendly

    "There are a number of Google services that return "incompatible browser" errors or deliver a trimmed-down version in Opera, even though the site would load just fine without the hardcoded browser checks (also known as browser sniffing)."