MobileMe Mail Beta: Google Chrome need not apply

Safari 4 (Mac and PC), Firefox 3.6 (Mac and PC), and Internet Explorer 8 (PC) are fully supported.

Well, well, well, look whose browser is not invited to Apple’s MobileMe Mail beta program.

Of course, there’s no Opera, either.

A lot could be made of this, but it’s probably nothing. It makes sense for Apple to focus the beta program on the latest IE and Firefox, as well as their own, browsers. But it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome gets a shout when Mail is out of beta.

MobileMe Mail Beta: Google Chrome need not apply

Safari 4 (Mac and PC), Firefox 3.6 (Mac and PC), and Internet Explorer 8 (PC) are fully supported.

Well, well, well, look whose browser is not invited to Apple’s MobileMe Mail beta program.

Of course, there’s no Opera, either.

A lot could be made of this, but it’s probably nothing. It makes sense for Apple to focus the beta program on the latest IE and Firefox, as well as their own, browsers. But it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome gets a shout when Mail is out of beta.

Opera Mini for iPhone

Opera Mini uses the company’s own browser engine rather than WebKit, which is used by Safari. This results in many pages not rendering properly, or not in the original page’s standard fonts.

So it’s here, much to the chagrin of pundits who had probably already written articles railing against Apple blocking it from the App Store.

In any case, it’s here, and… big deal.

Honestly, if I still had my original iPhone I’d probably use this a lot when on EDGE. But for WiFi and 3G, the ugly rendering and security issues (everything is proxied through Opera’s servers, and there’s no SSL support) are not enough to me to compensate for the speed advantage.

Should Opera Mini be approved for the iPhone?

Apple gets dinged for not delivering the full Internet by excluding Flash, and yet I bet the very same Apple anti-fans won’t say a word about Opera not even trying.

Great article detailing why Opera Mini should not be approved for the App Store. It’s a good read, based on numerous technical/privacy/compliance factors, not just one or two philosophical points.

I also suggest you read this great post in the comments section.

Whether you agree with the various points made (I do), or whether those points should be reason for Apple to reject the app (I’m less convinced about that), it’s an important discussion.

The bottom line is that Opera Mini — Opera PR notwithstanding — is not a web browser in the sense we normally use the term. It does not render pages, but rather runs them through a proxy that involves many important “side effects”. A little education about that for a mass market (i.e. not geek-driven) device like the iPhone is a good idea.

Opera Unite: Has Opera Reinvented The Web?

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Opera Labs has introduced the service they were claiming will “re-invent the web”.  It’s called Unite, and I’m not so sure this is going to be the great step forward they think it is.

Essentially, Unite puts a web server in the web browser. When you’re running Opera, you not only have a client at your fingertips, but also a server capable of sharing your files with other Opera users (and presumably other browsers).

Right out of the gate, I’m a little confused. Was sharing files with friends/family an issue people were having problems with? Free blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. all make it easy to share data with people. And this doesn’t even get into services like Google Docs or Facebook. Who the heck is not sharing because they can’t do it via their own “server”? And don’t the current services handle things like storage and backup for you, tasks you might not want to take on yourself? In others words, has Opera just solved a problem that no one is having?

The Opera introduction reads like a manifesto at times:

Social networking is important, but who owns it — the online real estate and all the content we share on it? How much control over our words, photos, and identities are we giving up by using someone else’s site for our personal information? How dependent have we become?

I’m not sure if they think we want to manage our own servers just to share files, or if they’re trying to scare us into thinking Flickr, for example, is a black hole into which our precious photos may be lost forever. I don’t deny privacy, reliability, etc. are big concerns with any social network, but they’d be no less so if you took on the tasks yourself.

Ultimately, Opera Unite is a platform for which they need developers to build out tools and services beyond the simple items Opera provides:

The first few services we’ve released for Opera Unite are fairly simple and offer functionality that you’ve likely seen elsewhere, perhaps on desktop applications or 3rd party web sites. These first few demos are meant to illustrate how Opera Unite services are put together and the basics behind the new technology.

If you’re a developer why would you go there? Mobile is the hot market right now. Not just the iPhone, but Palm’s WebOS and Google’s Android are likely to provide a relatively better return on your investment.

From a browser perspective, Webkit’s the hot engine, fueling Safari and Chrome with support for HTML 5, which is pushed heavily by Google and Apple. Why dabble with Opera?

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Heck, Opera is not even open source. There’d be nothing wrong with this except that their marketing pitch appears built around freeing yourself from the big guys. For all their “free the little guy” spiel, your self-hosted data has to run through Opera’s proxy servers. Seems like this would help Opera become a big guy, wouldn’t it? But presumably that’s OK; it’s the other big guys you have to worry about.

In short, color me sceptical. There are probably many details yet to come, and at this early stage there may be some misunderstanding in this blog and elsewhere. But as it stands I don’t see an audience crying out for the kind of web Opera says they reinvented; nor do I see a successful Unite freeing us from relying on someone else’s control, it would simply change that “someone else” to Opera.

Opera Unite: Has Opera Reinvented The Web?

Opera_Reinvent

Opera Labs has introduced the service they were claiming will “re-invent the web”.  It’s called Unite, and I’m not so sure this is going to be the great step forward they think it is.

Essentially, Unite puts a web server in the web browser. When you’re running Opera, you not only have a client at your fingertips, but also a server capable of sharing your files with other Opera users (and presumably other browsers).

Right out of the gate, I’m a little confused. Was sharing files with friends/family an issue people were having problems with? Free blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. all make it easy to share data with people. And this doesn’t even get into services like Google Docs or Facebook. Who the heck is not sharing because they can’t do it via their own “server”? And don’t the current services handle things like storage and backup for you, tasks you might not want to take on yourself? In others words, has Opera just solved a problem that no one is having?

The Opera introduction reads like a manifesto at times:

Social networking is important, but who owns it — the online real estate and all the content we share on it? How much control over our words, photos, and identities are we giving up by using someone else’s site for our personal information? How dependent have we become?

I’m not sure if they think we want to manage our own servers just to share files, or if they’re trying to scare us into thinking Flickr, for example, is a black hole into which our precious photos may be lost forever. I don’t deny privacy, reliability, etc. are big concerns with any social network, but they’d be no less so if you took on the tasks yourself.

Ultimately, Opera Unite is a platform for which they need developers to build out tools and services beyond the simple items Opera provides:

The first few services we’ve released for Opera Unite are fairly simple and offer functionality that you’ve likely seen elsewhere, perhaps on desktop applications or 3rd party web sites. These first few demos are meant to illustrate how Opera Unite services are put together and the basics behind the new technology.

If you’re a developer why would you go there? Mobile is the hot market right now. Not just the iPhone, but Palm’s WebOS and Google’s Android are likely to provide a relatively better return on your investment.

From a browser perspective, Webkit’s the hot engine, fueling Safari and Chrome with support for HTML 5, which is pushed heavily by Google and Apple. Why dabble with Opera?

OperaUniteLoginHeck, Opera is not even open source. There’d be nothing wrong with this except that their marketing pitch appears built around freeing yourself from the big guys. For all their “free the little guy” spiel, your self-hosted data has to run through Opera’s proxy servers. Seems like this would help Opera become a big guy, wouldn’t it? But presumably that’s OK; it’s the other big guys you have to worry about.

In short, color me sceptical. There are probably many details yet to come, and at this early stage there may be some misunderstanding in this blog and elsewhere. But as it stands I don’t see an audience crying out for the kind of web Opera says they reinvented; nor do I see a successful Unite freeing us from relying on someone else’s control, it would simply change that “someone else” to Opera.

Web Browser News: Safari 4 Downloads in Perspective, Opera Boycott

There’s some browser news floating around today worth talking about. And none of it has anything to do with Internet Explorer.

Firefox

First up, Mozilla puts Safari 4′s 11M downloads in perspective:

I just read that Apple is reporting 11 million Safari 4 downloads in just three days. That’s pretty amazing.

I’d like to follow up that report with one of my own.

Firefox 3.0.11 was downloaded about 150 million times in the last 24 hours.

While there may be a touch of snark in the comment, the truth is the truth. There’s also no denying its accuracy, nor can it be doubted that it does indeed put Safari 4′s download numbers in an entirely different context. In fact, Mozilla had previously pointed out that 27% of Mac users alone have swapped from the default browser to Firefox:

Having chosen Mac, Safari users, about 27% of them, have opted out of the bundled and default browser and instead chosen Firefox. That’s an even higher conversion to Firefox rate than we’re seeing on Windows.

In short, Safari has a long way to go.

Opera

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the browser world, staunch Internet Explorer fans are requesting a boycott on the Opera browser. From the article:

Opera is simply upset because their browser is dead last in market share, and has already been surpassed by the recently released Google Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari browser for Windows.

True enough. I think Opera is asking for a seat at the table they haven’t earned. As for the boycott itself, given Opera’s share of the browser market I though it was already on.