Saving browsing bandwidth - is Opera alone enough?

Opera Martin of gHacks posted about saving bandwidth in Opera today (as follow-up to the similar post on Firefox).

It lists few good tweaks like disabling plug-ins, switching to cached images, etc. Which sadly sums up to… not much. Main problem with reducing bandwidth usage that there are only two surefire ways to accomplish that:

  1. Receive reformatted content (mobile browsers like Opera Mini do this, I had seen some paid proxy services for same).
  2. Ignore and skip specific parts of content.

Guess what - both of these mean you don’t get full content which is the point of web-browsing.

In my opinion saving bandwidth is not really browser function. Browser has to deliver you full content, rest isn’t his job. So who manages filtering? Answer is proxy. They can be used on LAN scale (not much interest to end-user) or at local machine.

So we have local proxy that manages content served to browser cutting… What? Most common answer is - cutting advertisement. :) This is probably truth of reducing bandwidth usage. Deciding on what content to not receive most people would rate banners very high.

Firefox has a clear lead with extensions like AdBlock Plus but Opera doesn’t have similar level of ad blocking. Ad blocker module included in Opera is way too simple. Good news - there are 3rd party ad blockers that are really good. I had used Proxomitron for a long time, sadly it is long unmaintained (but still works and has dedicated user base). There are some scions of it like Proximodo. And finally there are highly effective shareware applications like AdMuncher.

To sum it up - Opera can’t really filter bandwidth with internal functions, but it’s easily fixable with 3rd party applications. Is it good or bad? Probably it just the way Opera works - you get what you get out-of-the-box (which is lots) but not much more.

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  • Martin #

    Rarst good points. I really like the Opera Mini solution that compresses the content before it delivers it to the user. This, on the other hand, might raise a few alarm signals about privacy. I agree that the ad manager in Opera is not on pair with the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox. Opera should really work on this.
  • Rarst #

    Opera Mini is excellent on mobile phone but I am not sure it belongs to desktop like people try to use it. I think it's unlikely for Opera to implement really functional ad blocker. It may be relatively easy to code but it has a lot of upkeep costs - updating block lists, making sure that filters don't interfere with non-ad content... It simply isn't their priority. Anyway Opera 9.5x is significant update but only a milestone before major version 10. Things might change.