Opera Unite - Opera's Unique Data Sharing Platform

By CHAITRA SHETTY | 11 March, 2011 - 17:24

Opera Unite, a unique feature in Opera web browser helps share heavy files with colleagues and friends without any involvement of third party servers. You can stream music, show photo galleries, share files and folders, or even host your own Web pages directly from your browser.

AnimationXpress.com spoke to Shwetank Dixit, Web Evangelist, Opera Software, India to know more about Opera Unite.

How is Opera Unite different from other sharing data platforms on the internet?
When it comes to data sharing specifically, Opera Unite works a bit differently than traditional data sharing platforms. Usually if you have to share a file, you have to upload it to a central third party site, and then ask your friends to go to that site and download the files from there. Using Opera Unite, you have a web server inside the web browser, which means you can share your files by asking your friends to your own computer rather than a third party site. There‘s no need to upload. You can even set passwords so that it‘s accessible only with a select group of people.

However, a point I would like to emphasis is that Opera Unite is a platform for sharing not just data, but various applications as well. An app which allows you to share your photos, or stream your music is just one type of application. Other Opera Unite applications include things like a shared whiteboard, and instant messenger, a webcam streamer, games, and more. You can run your own website using it.

So Opera Unite is more than just a data sharing platform, its a platform which makes communication between two or more people more direct, without a giant server getting in between. Think P2P web apps, where people are running web applications directly from their own computer and users can connect to him rather than a server. Furthermore, Opera Unite applications are based on open standards like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the W3C Widgets Specification. Any developer with knowledge of these technologies can start making Opera Unite apps. You can learn more on how to build Opera Unite apps Here

How much data can be shared via Opera Unite?
You can share as much as you want. With Opera Unite, you share files from your own computer and there is no need to upload anything. Hence the amount of data you share is only limited by the amount of space available on your hard disk. For example, if you have 10GB of photos, uploading all that to a photo sharing site would be very cumbersome and time consuming. With Opera Unite, you don‘t need to upload anything. You can just set up an Opera Unite Photo Sharing app, and ask your friends to see the photos and download it from your own computer.

What is the speed at which the sharing happens?
The speed at which sharing happens is pretty much limited by the speed of your internet connection. You can also reduce the speed of sharing by going to Opera Unite > Configure > Advanced Settings. In the Upload Speed section, you can specify how many kilobytes Opera Unite loads per second.

How safe is data sharing through this platform?
Opera Unite runs in something called a ‘secured sandbox‘, which means that apart from the files or folders you specify, no other part of the local system will be exposed. Which means no outside person will be able to access anything on your computer using Opera Unite other than the files or folders you specify. We in Opera take security very seriously, and our past record on security speaks for itself. We also advise users to keep their copy of Opera up to date by making sure they are running the latest version of Opera.

How has been the response for the same since launch? Any bugs?
There were initial hiccups with the proxy server (data passes through our proxy server though nothing is stored. On local network direct connections between computers can be made without the proxy server using UPnP) as when it was launched in 2009, there was a sudden tremendous interest all around the world and everyone started using it at once. This was a good problem to have, as we wanted as many people to use it as much as possible, and since those initial few days, we have responded to the demand and adjusted well.

Are there any Premium facilities too?
No, there are not any premium facilities. Content is shared from your own computer, and not on a third party site ... so all the control over the content is with you.

Opera Unite is free to use and is available in Opera Desktop. You can learn more about Opera Unite on http://unite.opera.com/overview