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Opera Unite Solves the Problems of "the Cloud"

Opera Unite

Opera Software have today launched Opera Unite (external link), an innovative technology that allows users to share files, photos, music, and more without the use of a third-party service. Using web-server-like technology, users share data across the Internet without uploading files to an intermediary service, such as Flickr or MobileMe.

Users install "services" that are built from traditional web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX), which they can broadcast out to friends and family. Opera have released an initial suite of services (external link): File Sharing, Fridge (notes), Media Player, Photo Sharing, The Lounge (chat), and Web Server. Developers are able to create new services for Opera Unite and they have a detailed developer website (external link) to get one started.

Opera Unite's interface reminds me of Flock, except there is no uploading involved:

Screenshot of Opera Unite's interface1.1 Opera Unite's interface.

When you share Opera Unite services, people see something like below:

Screenshot of a published Opera Unite service page1.2 A published Opera Unite service.

Essentially, Opera Unite solves the questionable reliability and the user-privacy concerns of "the Cloud". Putting all of your photos, documents, etc. online to Flickr, Google Docs, or some other service allows for easy sharing with friends and family. However, what happens if that third-party service closes down? What if there is a loss of data? Who else has access to that centralised data? Opera Unite solves these problems by enabling users to share data easily across the Internet, without relying on a third-party service. No dodgy reliability. No fear of data loss. No privacy concerns.

I personally have not had a chance to test out Opera Unite in detail. My first question is what if your computer is off-line? I have a Macbook and I know that it is quite often powered down. Furthermore, what is Opera's role as a proxy to Opera Unite services? I also wonder how ISPs will react to having a bunch of mini-servers on their crowded residential networks.

At Lowter, we are playing around with Opera Unite in order to write a proper review of the strikingly innovative service. I personally applaud Opera for never ceasing to amaze me! Look for a thorough review of Opera Unite sometime next week and feel free to discuss Opera Unite (external link) in the comments below or on the Lowter Forums (external link).