Opera Goes Turbo

About a month ago, Opera announced (external link) Opera Turbo. Opera Turbo is a piece of software that runs on the Opera server in between you and the Internet. It compresses website data by as much as 80% and then sends you the results to be displayed in Opera. The technology is already used in Opera Mini (external link), where it can compress a standard web page (with images) down to around 7KB, which loads quite quick, even on a standard mobile connection.

Originally it was thought that Opera were only going to licence the technology to third parties, who would then include the service in their products. However, Opera have just announced (external link) the availability of an alpha version of Opera 10 which includes the Turbo service.

Opera Turbo icon

Turbo is enabled by pressing a button in the bottom left corner of the screen. Once enabled, you can browse exactly as you would have done before. The icon has a number next to it which shows by how much the current page was compressed.

Opera Turbo\'s apparent image compression

After using Opera Turbo on my machine, I was very impressed with how quick it was. It loaded most web pages within seconds, even with the limiter enabled. The only downside I can see is that images are visibly compressed, which looks a bit odd when a website makes use of gradients (like Lowter's menu bar). It would be nice to have an option to change how much the images are compressed by, like in the settings of Opera Mini. However, as this is only an alpha release I think I'll let that one pass as something that may be coming at a later date.

Opera Turbo is intended to be used by people who have slow internet connections, such as on mobile phones or with 3G dongles. If you're interested in giving the alpha release a go, you can download it from the Opera Labs download page (external link).


  • I like Opera extending this technology to the normal browser, especially because I think that it will come in handy for people around the world who have small Internet caps or their connection is very expensive. I still want Opera Mini for the iPhone though!

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Sat 14 Mar 2009 at 18:10

  • If I've read the news right I think you need to take that up with Apple. I have to say that Opera Mini is one of the best bits of software about.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Sun 15 Mar 2009 at 3:53

  • You mean the bottom left corner. razz

    Anyway, I've already posted my suggestions to the Opera forum/blog, namely:

    -Ability to use the stop annoying stuff (plugins) functionality separately from Opera Turbo

    -Compress text files only, load original images from original source (or higher quality compressed would work as well, I suppose... but that'd require more work for Opera servers)

    Posted by Frans (external link) on Sun 15 Mar 2009 at 20:58

  • The problem is that images are what makes up the majority of the web traffic. If you dont compress them there isn't much point compressing anything. It is made for people with really slow connection speeds (sub 1mb/s) so I think that everything needs to be compressed. They could have a setting for how compressed the images are. This is possible because it is avaliable in Opera Mini already.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Mon 16 Mar 2009 at 16:10

  • I'm on 2Mbit (allegedly, in practice more like 1.2 to 1.5Mbit most of the time) and I notice a significant speed increase with Opera Turbo. For that reason I'm currently bearing with the low quality images, but I really wouldn't mind waiting for the original ones a little bit longer. There's one exception. The speed on Google Maps is phenomenal with the low quality images and it doesn't really affect it all that much.

    Posted by Frans (external link) on Mon 16 Mar 2009 at 20:11

  • Seeing the level of customisation that Opera usually offers, I imagine they will have some aspects that the user can control. I would say they probably belong in opera:config though, rather than another preference box or something.

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Tue 17 Mar 2009 at 19:47

  • I rarely use the GUI config and if I do I tend to think opera:config is easier than bothering with the checkboxes. I've got an opera6.ini section that I simply copy over to every Opera install I make.

    Posted by Frans (external link) on Wed 18 Mar 2009 at 6:59