Five questions about Opera Unite

Opera Unite embeds a Web server in the Opera 10 browser

Opera Software lit up the blogosphere today with the debut of its Opera Unite, a collaborative technology that embeds a Web server in its Opera 10 browser, which is still in beta. The software essentially turns PCs into Web servers, allowing users to run server-based services and bypass the "middlemen who control the servers of the world," according to this Unite promotional video:

The concept sounds appealing, and I'm all for increasing the power of individual users. But I have a few questions that will likely be answered once the common folk get a chance to play with Opera Unite.

1. A Web server should run 24/7 and be accessible to anyone at any time. Do home users really want to leave their PCs on all the time? If your goal is to share music and photos with friends and family, probably not. That's a lot of wasted energy, not to mention a higher utility bill each month. When I leave the house, I place my computer in sleep mode (if I'm returning soon) or turn it off.

2. Based on my first impressions of Opera Unite, which I installed this morning, the software's privacy and security features appear to be pretty good. Even so, many users may be uncomfortable with the idea of turning their PCs into Web servers. Did they set the security features correctly? Will criminals be able to crack Unite's security and access their personal files? Many folks may not want the headache of running a server.

3. Unite's setup screen asks this question: "Do you want to share pictures with your family without uploading them to a Web site?" To which I ask: Is uploading photos really that difficult? Millions of people seem to be using Facebook and other social-networking and photo-sharing sites without much trouble. Then again, for photo and video buffs who share thousands of files, a Web server has its advantages.

4. Will the stick-it-to-the-middlemen message resonate with people? While Facebook has annoyed some users by banning pics of breastfeeding moms and various hate groups, it really hasn't encountered a prolonged, mainstream backlash. Some gripes may be valid. But despite their flaws, the major social nets don't come across as totalitarian ogres unwilling to listen to their users. And speaking of totalitarianism, there's also the question of how much control a Web server gives the average Joe and Jane. As we've seen recently in China and Iran, governments have a nasty habit of limiting Net access to block information they don't like.

5. The Web-server-for-all approach runs counter to today's cloud computing gospel, which preaches the benefits of having our data reside on safe, secure servers run by middlemen. Yes, the very same middlemen that Opera Unite says are no good for us. So who's right?

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags operaweb browsers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?