Jon von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsoy wrote the first lines of the Opera code in April 1994. Today, about 40 million people use Opera on their Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009: Fifteen years ago, two computer scientists sat at their desks in a research lab in what is today Telenor, Norway’s telecommunications incumbent, itching to begin a new project. They were going to build their own Web browser. Those first keystrokes would become Opera, the browser that has set the standard for browser innovation.
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software, and Geir Ivarsøy began coding the original desktop Web browser in April 1994. Today, about 40 million people use Opera on their Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
“Geir and I knew the Web would forever change how people live, work and play — the Web browser would be the tool to enable that transformation,” said Jon von Tetzchner. “Today, I am humbled by what our company, together with the worldwide community of Opera users, has achieved. In the next 15 years, billions of people will join the Web. I am confident we will give them even more reasons to choose Opera. Everyone deserves a good browser, regardless of how or where they connect to the Web.”
The original Opera desktop browser paved the way for Opera to create a single, cross-platform browser engine. Because this browser core works anywhere, Opera now powers the Web experience on an array of devices. From TVs, set-top boxes and media players to mobile phones, game consoles, cars and computers, today Opera is available to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Opera was first released publicly with version 2.0 in 1996, which only ran on Microsoft Windows. With Opera’s first public release, the company laid the foundation for tabbed browsing by allowing multiple documents in the same browsing window.
In an attempt to capitalise on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port Opera to mobile device platforms was started in 1998. Opera 4.0, released in 2000, included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.
In 2001, Opera introduced Mouse Gestures which improves how people navigate the Web. New innovations focussed on keeping users productive and organised. A note-taking feature in the browser, the original Speed Dial for a person’s favourite sites, Opera Link to keep data synchronised and available anywhere set the stage for Opera’s ongoing evolution.
There has been a major jump in usage, page views and data transfers for Opera Mini this month. In March 2009, more than 23 million people used Opera Mini, a 12.1 per cent increase from February 2009 and more than 157 per cent increase from March 2008. Those users viewed more than 8.6 billion pages in March 2009. Since February, page views have gone up 17.4 per cent. Year over year (YoY), page views have increased 255 per cent, Opera claims.
This year, Opera has introduced Opera Turbo, which compresses pages to give broadband-like speeds on almost any Internet connection. Yet there is much more to come. Stay tuned to see how the Web will evolve next!