Opera adds bookmarks sharing, beats Chrome to the punch

Opera Software has updated its namesake desktop browser to version 26, introducing bookmarks sharing and beating rival Google to the punch.

Opera Software yesterday updated its namesake desktop browser to version 26, introducing bookmarks sharing and beating rival Google to the punch.

The bookmarks folder sharing feature introduced in Opera 26 on Wednesday followed a design revamp of the browser's bookmarks manager seven weeks ago. Then, Opera unveiled a manager that showed bookmarked pages as thumbnail-sized images illustrating the pages' content.

Claiming that "our memories are often visual," Opera ditched the traditional list-style manager that simply showed titles of saved URLs.

In the latest addition to its toolset, Opera 26 features folder-based bookmarks sharing. Once URLs are bookmarked, any folder -- each site visually represented with a thumbnail -- can be selected and shared with a click. That generates a special URL that can be copied and pasted into an email message, text or tweet.

The recipient clicks on that link to bring up a new page fleshed out with the thumbnails of the shared websites. The recipient does not need to have Opera to call up the bookmarked pages with their preferred browser.

Google has introduced a similar feature for its Chrome browser that will likely debut at the end of this year or in the first few weeks of January 2015.

Chrome's bookmarks sharing works much the same as Opera's, creating a link to a URL that can be emailed or texted to others, which in turn pulls up thumbnails of the shared folder.

The new tool will be part of a bookmarks manager redesign that, like Opera's, represents saved URLs with image thumbnails. Some Chrome users have criticized the new user interface (UI), calling it "an abomination" and an "unmitigated disaster."

Opera 26 also boasted an upgrade for Linux users that included the new bookmarks manager and sharing, a new in-browser print preview feature, and a Yosemite-style UI for Mac owners.

While Opera's desktop browser often introduces features that rivals eventually copy -- the most famous instance of that was Opera's Speed Dial, a thumbnail-based new tab page -- the Norwegian browser maker's share, never significant, has slipped dramatically in the past 12 months.

Over the last year, Opera on the desktop has lost 38% of its user share, a measurement from analytics firm Net Applications. For November, Opera's user share stood at just 0.9%, meaning that only 9 out of every 1,000 browser users ran the application. In comparison, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) had a November user share of 59%, and Google's second-place Chrome had 20.6%.

The browser update can be downloaded for Windows, OS X and Linux from Opera Software's website.

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