Opera Unite : A web server in your browser

Rarely do I get excited about new software developments. The last I remember was when WolframAlpha was realeased. Now it is Opera Unite. I’ve forever been a Opera fan, and always loved the extra bit of functionality thoughtfully added to the product by the opera team. But Unite really takes the step forward.

In a nutshell, Opera Unite is a collaborative technology that uses a web server embedded inside the Opera browser to share data and services with the outside world. To share pictures, movies and other content right off your hard disk all you have to do is run the relevant Unite Service and then send the resulting link to your peers, with which they can than access your content. You can also write your own Opera applications in JavaScript, known as Opera Unite Services, which are then run by the Opera server.

Basic Works
Opera Unite works by using a proxy server (operaunite.com) between the opera server and the various clients. This means besides your login credentials it takes zero configuration to connect to the outside world. There have been various attempts before for such collaborative tools, but the seamless integration provided by Unite makes it very easier for people to collaborate and share content with other people.

opera unite

So what can you do with Unite:
1. You could play interactive games with your friends.
2. Share photos, music and videos with other people, straight off your hard drive.
3. You can work collaboratively with others on documents with your peers.
or create whatever collaborative application you like using the Unite API.

The default Unite services shipped with Opera are as follows:

a. File Sharing
Securely share a file from your personal computer without waiting to upload it. First select the folder from which you would like to share files. Opera Unite then generates a direct URL to that folder. By giving that link to your friends, you can share files without routing through a third-party Web service.

b.Web Server
Run entire Web sites from your local computer with the Opera Unite Web Server. After selecting the folder containing your Web site, you can share and host it from the given Opera Unite URL. Opera Unite will automatically recognize index files and create the Web site as you designed it.

c.Media Player
Rock out wherever you are by accessing your MP3s and playlists from any machine. After selecting the folder containing your playlist, use the Opera Unite direct link to play your tracks directly in any modern Web browser.

d.Photo Sharing
Share your photos direct from your PC, without uploading them online. Once you select your photo folder, the photo-sharing service will create a thumbnail image gallery of your photos. Clicking the thumbnail will present the photo in its original resolution.

e.The Lounge
The Lounge is a self-contained chat service running on your computer. Your friends can access the chat room via the direct link, which will not require them to sign into any service. Depending on your privacy settings, you need only provide the generated password to your service in order for people to log in to your chatroom.

Post a note on your friends’ virtual refrigerators. By sharing the direct link to your refrigerator, you and your friends, family or colleagues can exchange notes securely and privately in real time.

Unite provides nice and simple security features when sharing your content with the outside world. Naturally there still will be debates on the security implications of Unite; but leaving that aside Opera, by embedding a webserver in the browser, has dared to change more then a decade old model of a web browser.

One thought to “Opera Unite : A web server in your browser”

  1. Great post! I didn’t know Opera had functionality like this in the works. I recently downloaded a Firefox extension called Plain Old Webserver (POW, here’s a link to it’s wiki: http://davidkellogg.com/wiki/Main_Page) that sounds like it does about the same thing; I haven’t gotten around to playing with it though.

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