Opera is integrating ad blocking into its desktop and mobile browsers, starting with Opera Mini for Android.
Opera Mini is designed for the constraints of mobile devices and slow or metered internet connections. The browser integrates data compression technology, which allows it to serve web content faster and over less bandwidth compared to classic mobile browsers like Chrome or Opera for Android.
Thanks to the addition of ad blocking, Opera Mini for Android can now load pages even faster. Opera claims that turning the ad blocking mode on speeds up load times by 40%. In addition, because ads and other forms of web overhead are stripped out, users can save up on their data bills as well.
While other browsers require plug-ins (or root access) for ad blocking, Opera Mini includes the feature out of the box, though users will have to opt in on the first run.
The same feature is coming to Opera for desktop. No details have been provided on the eventual availability of the feature on Opera’s “regular” Android browser.
Opera Mini joins Samsung’s stock Internet browser in offering support for ad blocking. But Samsung’s app merely exposes an ad blocking API, and users need to install a separate plug-in, like Adblock Fast – this specific plug-in was pulled by Google from the Play Store in February, before being reinstated a week later.
The problem of ad blocking is thorny – on the one hand, users are rightfully put off by the barrage of ads they see online every day. On the other, content creators need to sell ad space in order to stay in business and continue to offer free content to users.
Returning to Opera, the Norwegian company received a buyout offer from a group of Chinese investors including Qihoo 360, maker of the popular 360 Security app for Android. As for now, it doesn’t seem that the acquisition went through and Opera continues to enhance the products it’s known for, including Opera Mini and the standalone data compression service Opera Max.