Opera adds 'widgets' to Web browser

Opera said it will integrate BitTorrent and support widgets in the next version of its browser.

Opera Software will include support for "widgets," or small programs that run on a user's desktop, with a technical preview of its Opera 9 Web browser due to be released Tuesday, a company spokesman said.

Opera is also opening some of its code to allow users to develop their own widgets, which include things like newsfeed readers and time zone calculators. The programs run on the desktop apparently independent of the browser.

Opera has also decided that it will include the BitTorrent file-sharing program with the final version of Opera 9 when it is released, said Opera spokesman Tor Odland.

The company included BitTorrent with an initial preview version of Opera 9 released last year, and the feedback has been positive, Odland said. It will also be part of the second technical preview coming out Tuesday.

BitTorrent is a free application for downloading digital content more quickly. Rather than downloading one big file from a single source, BitTorrent users download pieces of the file from other BitTorrent users.

Users can thus search for BitTorrent files from the Opera search field, click on them and download them with the file-sharing software. Without the integration, customers have to open a separate BitTorrent application on their PC.

Opera has not said when it expects the final version of Opera 9 to be released. The technical previews are pre-beta releases designed for light use and to gather feedback, Odland said.

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