Opera rolls out AI-infused browser

Opera One is an extensive makeover of the Chrome-based web browser that allows ChatGPT natural language processing and offers a new, more modular UI design.

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Opera went live today with Opera One, an extensive makeover of its namesake Chrome-based web browser that includes a native generative AI feature that allows users to ask it to create text or computer code and get questions answered with greater detail.

The new AI feature, called Aria, comes as a sidebar window and allows users to ask questions and get natural language answers derived from a trove of information scoured from the internet. Aria is both a web and browser expert that allows users to collaborate with AI while looking for information online, according to Opera.

Created through a collaboration with OpenAI, Aria uses an API to connect to the ChatGPT generative AI engine, enabling live results from the web. Opera’s Aria feature also has connectivity to Opera’s entire database of support documentation, which allows users access to product information. 

“It’s connected to the internet and not limited to content prior to 2021 — making it a more advanced offering than standard GPT-based solutions,” Opera spokesperson Julia Szyndzielorz said in a blog post today.

The new features are now available through a download.

opera ai image Opera

Opera's new Aria AI engine allows more detailed natural language answers to user web querries.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as iOS and Android (beta version only), the browser also sports a more modular design that includes new features such as Tab Islands.

The Tab Island feature allows users to arrange open browser tabs into groups, or “islands,” which can be collapsed or expanded. When a user opens a new tab at the top of the browser, it begins a new group. However, tabs opened within a group stay connected, so that related tabs can be found easily, according to Opera. Users can also drag and drop tabs between islands, and manage entire groups at once.

“This feature, along with Workspaces on the top of your sidebar, provides convenient ways to keep your browsing sessions separate while keeping your tabs organized,” Opera said.

While Aria leverages OpenAI’s GPT large language model (LLM), the company said it also has enhanced the AI engine with additional capabilities such as fetching real-time data from the web, including current time and weather information. The Aria AI engine is available for use in about 180 countries and supports more than 50 languages.

Opera also re-engineered its desktop browser using a new architecture with a “multithreaded compositor” that it claims can deliver a faster and smoother user interface.

Opera One’s main thread is responsible for coordinating and managing the overall rendering process within a browser. It interprets HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code, creates all states of a web page, handles user inputs such as clicks and scrolling, and communicates with the compositor thread to help update what's displayed on-screen, according to the company. A second “compositor thread” is responsible for taking the elements that the main thread produces, so they're displayed on the screen. This includes effects like animations and transitions.

Opera One users are also getting a new command line interface that allows them to use the Ctrl+/ (Win) or the Cmd+/ keyboard shortcuts to display an overlay and interact with Aria. Whenever a question comes to mind, users can access the command line to ask Aria a question and either interact with the browser AI's response immediately in the sidebar or go back to browsing.

"As people who obsess over browser innovation, we saw fit to rethink the role of the browser in light of the recent developments in the AI space,” Joanna Czajka, product director at Opera, said in a statement. "As opposed to other browser companies, Opera didn't simply add AI services to its browser.We went back to the drawing board and redesigned our flagship browser. Opera One is built around Aria, our native browser AI, and is the culmination of our work so far.”

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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