Got browsers? Everyone does. My Mac is home to half a dozen browsers. What gets use the most? In order, it has been Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave. Every now and again I’ll try a new one but until recently that’s been the mix.
The mix has changed.
About a month or so ago I did what David Farrington did. I switched from Safari to Firefox as my main browser, and dropped Google’s Chrome to the bottom of seldom-used browsers. Firefox is damned fast and has more privacy functionality than Safari or Chrome. Google’s famous and popular browser is tied to the search engine giant’s penchant for profiting by taking privacy away from users. Chrome doesn’t get used much anymore.
Now, it’s time to say goodbye to Opera. Why? I have a few reasons. The first is a fear that the new Chinese owners will devote too much time, effort, and features to tracking their users. The second is because those new Chinese owners are shutting down Opera’s VPN (virtual private network) service.
Back when Opera was owned by Opera, they promised the VPN service would be free for life. Life? Whose life? How about a couple of years? Under the heading Olaf’s Retiring:
We’re discontinuing the Opera VPN app for iOS and Android on April 30, 2018.
No reason. Just because. Short lifespan, huh?
But don’t worry. We’re helping to make sure your privacy is still looked after.
How? By spying on Opera users from China? That autocratic country isn’t exactly a paragon of privacy, is it?
All Opera Gold users have the option to redeem a free 1-year subscription to SurfEasy Ultra VPN.
Gold was Opera’s paid VPN service and it appears that is going the way of Olaf, too, replaced by SurfEasy Ultra. SurfEasy VPN is one of many VPN apps for iPhone and iPad. It gets many good reviews. The Mac version, not so much. The monthly fee is modest.
Opera users not currently on the Opera Gold plan will be able to redeem an 80% discount on SurfEasy Total VPN through the latest version of the Opera VPN iOS and Android apps.
I read somewhere the one key element to product marketing is differentiation. iPhone X is different than Galaxy S9. The Mac is different than a Windows PC. Browsers are different, too, but the single most useful differentiation with Opera– vs. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, et al– was the built-in VPN.
So is Opera. There just isn’t enough differentiation to keep Opera around anymore. Goodbye, Olaf. Goodbye, Opera.