Opera 11.5 adds Speed Dial extensions, streamlines interface

Opera 11.5 splash

Opera Software has launched version 11.5 of its desktop Web browser for Windows, Mac OS X (10.6 or newer), and Linux, featuring a streamlined interface and new Speed Dial extensions that pull in key information from users’ favorite sites and services without requiring users to navigate separately to the sites: just load Opera, and Speed Dial extensions put the information you want up front, automatically. The new version also features an updates rendering engine, improved performance, a number of tweaks and bug fixes.

And to celebrate the new release, Opera Software has converted its home page into a giant download thermometer, with key makers indicating the number of copies downloads compared to the number of Internet users who have tapped into other popular Internet memes. Like the number of people who are Facebook fans of Tom Selleck’s mustache, or the number of crew members the Star Wars Death Star supports.

“We’re excited about the work that has gone into Opera 11.50,” said Opera’s VP of desktop products Jan Standal, in a statement. “Before we challenge Lady Gaga though, we’ve got to surpass the Tom Selleck mustache fan page on Facebook and the number of forum posts Opera fan Tamil has written. We think Speed Dial extensions are amazing enough to do the trick, but we didn’t stop there.”

The new Speed Dial extensions can appear as tiles that pull in live information from Web services that users can arrange into a customized dashboard collating data from a number of sites. Speed Dial extensions area already available for Read It Later, Webdoc (enabling users to quickly create interactive posts), the Hype Machine music service, and StockTwits.

Opera 11.5 Speed Dial extensions

Opera 11.5 also features password syntonization technology that enables users to securely synchronize their Web site passwords with other Opera browsers—that way folks who use Opera in multiple locations can access the same sites without having to remember their individual logins. Opera 11.5 also enhances the browser’s support for HTML5 technologies. Opera 11.5 also sees significant graphics performance improvements, particularly for SVG graphics.

However, the standout feature of Opera 11.5 truly is the simplified interface, which tucks away many features everyday browser users won’t find necessary and presents a far less-cluttered look all without sacrificing features power users and advanced functionality Opera fans rely upon. The application also feels considerably more “native” for Mac OS X users, while the Windows version also sits well in the general operating system themes.

Opera 11.5 is available for free download.