So we finally managed to get some public release of Opera Unite out of the door. That was a really good thing, first because it’s a very cool idea and we had to let others play with it and make it evolve, and second because it was painful keeping a secret for so long ;-)
In case you have been hiding under a rock these days and you don’t know what I’m talking about: Opera Unite is the latest crazy idea from Opera Software. Basically, embedding a web server inside the web browser, so that people can be more than spectators on the web, share their data without having to upload to third party services, and generally change the way they interact with the web. The cool thing is that the system is not limited to sharing files or whatever, you can actually program your own Opera Unite services to do pretty much anything you want (check the documentation in Dev Opera if you’re a developer). However, do note that this is just a Labs release, that is, just a preview of relatively immature software. For a more complete introduction, go to the Labs blog post introducing Opera Unite.
Opera created quite a bit of hype before the release, which seemed to work pretty well. In particular, the teasing in the HTML comments of the preview URL (http://opera.com/freedom), which were being updated every day by adding some more words, was brilliant. There has been a lot of press coverage of Opera Unite this week, and even some Russian fella created the website unitehowto.com the same day Unite was released, and he wrote (collected?) a bunch of information, articles and tutorials about Opera Unite.
I have to say that, although there has been some quite challenging times while developing Opera Unite (it’s a quite ambitious project that involves several departments with massively different backgrounds and values, what did you expect?), I’m quite happy with the result and I think we have made, in general, a good job. As I said, this is just a very rough version, and there’s a lot of work left to do, but I’m sure it will improve a lot before we release the final version. That said, I’m sure that the most exciting things about Unite will, without doubt, start happening once people start writing interesting services, changing the way we see Opera Unite and the way we see the web. I’m so eager to see what people are going to build with this…