Opera Software believes the key to making its browser run faster is by building ad-blocking software directly into the browser's engine. That's the case with Opera's newest developer version, available today, which the company claims is nearly twice as fast at loading webpages.
"Once enabled, the ad-blocking feature speeds up webpage load times by as much as 90 percent, compared to browsing with the option disabled," Opera Software says. The integrated ad-blocking technology also gives on average a 40 percent faster browsing experience compared to third-party ad-blocking extensions."
Opera attributes the speed gain compared to third-party solutions to filtering ads at the web-engine level, where the browser has full control over the loading process. As such, there's no add-on or extension to download, though it is opt-in by way of a pop-up in the upper right corner of the browser.
Users can turn the ad-blocking feature off for specific sites. Those sites get added to an exceptions list, which you can access and manage from Opera's settings. In addition, uses can see how many ads they've blocked and how page loading times are affected, as well as run a built-in benchmark.
Ad-blocking is a hot topic lately. A large portion of the content on the web is free because it's funded by ads, but with more and more users choosing to block ads for various reasons, publishers and content creators have to figure out other ways to monetize their operations or cease to exist. Opera Software is sympathetic to the plight of publishers and content creators, but believes ad-blockers are ultimately necessary.
"Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users. But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking. We don’t accept it - we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users," says Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Engineering and Head of Opera for computers.
Ideally, Opera sees its ad-blocking tool being used for sites that are too aggressive with ads, ones that significantly slow down page loads. It also envisions advertisers using its benchmark tool to fine too their ads so that Opera users will be more encouraged to whitelist a particular site.