Today Opera unveiled Opera Unite.
Essentially the technology turns every computer running the latest Opera browser into a web server.
With the help of Opera Unite users can share photos, videos, music and documents. They can build full blown web sites and even collaborative web applications, like discussion boards and chat rooms, collectively called Opera Unite services.
The important aspect here is that these services are not hosted by any third party, but instead run locally, on the users’ web servers, embedded into the Opera browser. In case you want to play with some Opera Unite driven services, feel free to start with my Lounge and my Fridge. I’ll leave these up and running for the next 24 hours. Lawrence Eng, Product Analyst Opera Software, has outlined the broader vision behind Opera Unite in a fantastic blog post. You should definitely check out his entire article, here is a small excerpt:
“Undoubtedly, the ability to participate online has increased, especially for people in developed countries. Self-publishing, self-expression, and social networking retain their status as the cornerstone of online activity for millions of people around the world. That said, people who create and share content will never approach true empowerment online until the computers they use are actually part of the Internet.
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.
This is how Opera’s marketing folks put it:
In order to overcome obstacles with firewalls and router configuration, which prevented self-hosting services from mainstream adoption in the past, Opera provides an infrastructure that eliminates these hurdles.
If you want to jump start developing your first Opera Unite service, you definitely want to go through this initial primer, guiding you from setting up your Opera Unite Web server up to the creation of a simple blogging application and hosting it yourself.
- Opera Unite alpha build for Windows
- Opera Unite alpha build for Mac
- Opera Unite alpha build for Linux/Unix
We are going to deep dive into Opera Unite now and will follow up with more in-depth coverage soon.