Most people use Opera Mini browser when on bad browsers. But Opera wants this to change. Opera’s deputy CTO Bruce Lawson had a lot to say about the browser during an even in Bengaluru where there were lots of Indian app developers.
A day before the event in Bengaluru, the deputy CTO was in Hyderabad to present a report on the state of the mobile web. According to the report, Opera browser saved more than INR 6 billion in data usage for Indian users in 2015. Data compression and ad blocking take credit for the impressive figures. Data compression is important to users all around the globe according to Lawson. Cutting on data connection bills is to everyone’s benefits.
Opera Mini browser is quite a popular mobile browser, not just in India. According to the report, many users use Opera for news, social networking, and Google search. Users in India also use Opera when connected to Wi-Fi. Even on Wi-Fi Opera compresses data, but not to the same degree as cellular data.
Earlier this year, Opera released a VPN on the desktop browser. The VPN has a built-in ad blocker. At the time of the release, Opera stated that the Android version with the feature would launch soon. Up to now, the Android version does not have the VPN. According to Lawson, Opera is working on it.
VPN ad blocker has been successful on Opera for the desktop. According to Lawson, usage of the feature has been more than the company expected. Opera for Android also has an ad blocker. The ad blocker changes the browsing experience to a large extent. While more and more people are turning on the ad blocker, website publishers are not happy with it. Some sites are detecting the ad blocker and preventing users from accessing the pages.
Lawson sees this move as ill-thought. He suggests that web publishers should stop and think why internet users are enthusiastic about the ad blocker. Opera has just put the feature in their browser. It is up to the user to use it or not. Ads account for 9% of a web page visually. The bad news is that ads consume 54% of data used.
Lawson explained that blocking ads makes a page load faster. A page with ads takes more time to load. The time plus the data consumption should explain why users prefer the ad blocker. Budget conscious customers are benefiting from the data compression and ad blocker.
Opera is keen on Android users. However, the app is also very popular on feature phones. 20% of the world’s population is still using feature phones. There are feature phones that have cellular data, but most of them lack Wi-Fi. “Although most people are eager to own a smartphone, these feature phones will still be on the market for some time,” Lawson said.
Opera also has plans for the future. The company intends to focus on offering better video experience by providing faster video compression.