Two new web browser applications have been released recently: Opera Unite and Safari 4. Of course they are both free. Here is my quick review.
Starting with the second one, I must admit I've never used Safari before. I generally dislike Apple corporation, but today I read news about new Safari 4 and decided to try it on my laptop.
My general impression is rather good. The browser's look and feel is quite standard comparing to other popular programs of this kind (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera). The same applies to keyboard shortcuts and set of features. All websites I tried work OK in Safari. To make long story short - Safari is yet another web browser, not bad but also not so special.
There is one (not so) small issue though. For all of you who complain about performance and memory consumption of Firefox: try Safari or just look at the screenshot below and you will change your mind :) I just entered one website (www.onet.pl) on both browsers.
Now let me say few words about Opera Unite. I tried Opera before and my impressions were very positive (although I still use Firefox). Personally I think Opera is a very good web browser - it launches and runs very fast, has lots of features and its GUI is nice. This time I just wanted to test brand new functionality introduced to Opera Unite - a personal web server.
To set up your own server, you just need to click on a command in Opera menu. Then you have to create an account in Opera system (standard question about your login + password + email). According to current trends in Internet applications (like Skype or Hamachi), there is no or minimum technical configuration required. Opera proposes use of UPnP (to forward ports through router) and automatically sets up something like dynamic DNS in operaunite.com domain.
Not only is the server setup far from what you have to do to install and configure Apache server, but sharing files is so easy too. You just need to point to a directory on your hard disk and it automatically gets shared, so people can explore directories and download files if they know correct URL (for example, the URL for my test was http://reg-laptop.reg01.operaunite.com/file_sharing/). I think I don't have to add that there is no need to code or setup any CMS script to make it work. You just put your files and a nice website for browsing them is generated automatically.
There are also some other "services" available. Photo Sharing works just like File Sharing, but looks like a gallery, where user can see image thumbnails instead of list of files. Fridge allows you and other people to leave sticky notes on your virtual fridge :) The Lounge is a chat service. Finally, Web Server is a normal server where you can put your own website starting from index.html. It looks like Opera Unite supports only HTML, without any PHP, MySQL or other stuff like this.
Opera Unite really impressed me. I've never seen anything like this before and now I think it will cause kind of a small revolution in the Web. Internet have always been server-oriented and transferring/sharing files between regular users always have been an issue. Of course Opera Unite is not going to replace traditional website hosting services (most of home computers do not work 24/7), but it can greatly support exchanging files between people.