Yet another Christmas is coming and we are getting closer to the farewell of 2017, a year which Opera was Reborn and many unique features reached our users. As the year ends, it’s also time for a very special release for us at Opera, the 50th edition of our browser.
Faster and better browser VPN
In September 2016, we introduced the free, built-in, no-log browser VPN service. Opera remains the only major browser providing such a unique service. Now, we are introducing our first major upgrade to the browser VPN service.
Moving to Opera data centers
Previously, the VPN service was hosted and operated by SurfEasy LLC, a company recently acquired by Symantec. We have investigated the best options for hosting the service and concluded the browser VPN service will be moved to our own data centers. Opera’s current server infrastructure, one of the highest capacity super-computer clusters in the world, is already hosting services such as the compressing engine for Opera Mini.
The colocation of the browser VPN service to our data centers is expected to give increased performance, scalability and balancing capabilities, while keeping it a free and no-log service.
From countries to regions
As we move the service to the Opera data centers, we are also changing from listing locations based on countries to regions. For the updated browser VPN, we will provide these options: Optimal location (default), the Americas, Europe and Asia. Locations will be rolled out gradually, starting with Europe today and the Americas and Asia coming soon.
Better search quality
As the usage of the free browser VPN service keeps growing, we have also noticed people complaining about the quality of search results when having the VPN service enabled. When massive traffic goes through certain IP ranges, search engines tend to classify it to a certain area. As a result, you might get all your search results in Ukrainian or Dutch, for example, and languages can again change unexpectedly.
Until now, this has been a problem for most VPN services. Since search quality is such an integral part of the browsing experience, we have decided to resolve it through the “local search” feature.
By default, the Opera browser will now bypass the browser VPN when you use your native search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yandex. These connections will still be secure over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), but your local IP will be made visible to the search engines. When you click on links to navigate away from the search engines, the browser VPN service will automatically be re-enabled. We believe it’s a smart balance between absolute privacy and user comfort.
People can also browse with the “local search” feature turned off by simply using a private browsing window. Then, the browser VPN connection will be enforced for any website, including your search engines.
As usual, the full changelog is here.
Chromium was updated to version 63.0.3239.59.