Recently, Opera announced the launch of their new "Unite" service, which transforms their web browser into a combined browser / server so users can't only consume content stored on the net but also put their own content such as pictures, videos, etc online without loosing control. Content opened to the net can be for private use outside the home network, it can be shared with friends or with the general public.
I am happy to see Opera going in this direction as I am one of those people who like to keep control over my private data and store them at home rather than on a server somewhere in the cloud while still having access to it no matter where I am. I've recently given a talk on the evolution of mobile networks at the University of Oxford (slides see here) and I think such Anti-Cloud services will be an interesting way for converged fixed/wireless network operators to make money with in the future.
Opera is not the first to think about such services. Nokia for example has launched a prototype of a web server for mobile phones to share content and interact with other people already three years ago and I'm a glowing fan of the concept. The downside of both concepts is that the device which offers the content is not always available, be it because the notebook is not always switched on or because the mobile phone every now and then ends up in places without network coverage or runs out of battery power. This is where I see fixed/wireless network operators come in, as the web server could run on the home gateway (think DSL modem + Wi-Fi + Femto + services) which is always switched-on and always available.
I wouldn't be surprised if Opera would be looking in this direction as well, their browser suite is already today not only available on the PC and mobile phones but also on game consoles etc., so they are definitely not new to embedded devices, development and deployment.
For more thoughts on Unite, here's what Ajit Jaokar over at OpenGardens thinks about it.
2 thoughts on “Opera Unite and the Anti-Cloud”
Maybe I should do more publisizing about what I write about, because I too wrote about this last week and again this week:
Nice to know that I think along the same lines as some of the other great thinkers in mobile 🙂
A piece that is still missing for now is IPv6 so we can get rid of Network Address Translation so we can directly access the data instead of going through Opera Servers. It will need some time.
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