At the much anticipated Opera keynote, Project Manager on Opera Coast Huib Kleinhout took the stage to talk about the future of the web and introduced Coast, a recent product by the Norwegian browser company that optimizes web experience on your iPhone or iPad.

“Which browser do people use the most?” Kleinhout asked the audience. The answer seemed a bit unexpected: Facebook. It’s true that so much happens on Facebook today – stream, push, share, personalized user experience. People get content and services with just a few taps and swipes.

This dwarfs traditional browsers for they pretty much have the same static and flat outlook as they started out 20 years ago. Browsers are doomed to change, and designers need to consider how people nowadays experience content before building a website, Kleinhout warned.

Coast wants to be the browser optimized for today’s interactive web experience. Its interface is minimalist – no forward or backward buttons whatsoever, running on full screen with no distraction. Sites are arranged in a grids just like your apps on a desktop. Gestures are done with touches as if playing with apps. Search is more intelligent so that icons of related quality websites show up when you type in keywords. It lets you share easily via social sites like Facebook, Twitter. In essence, Coast aims to give an app feeling to browser.


Projecting the future of web experience, Kleinhout believes that browsers will become invisible. Web technology will be further developed and integrated. Long tail web content and special purpose apps will complete each other. Furthermore, content will become increasingly user generated.

Kleinhout also reminded us of the essential role of web browsers despite the advent of apps. Over 1 billion sites exist on the internet. Plus, the web delivers precious values human beings are drawn to: free, open, actively developed and competitive.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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