So this is what Opera was talking about the other day when they were promising to "reinvent the web". The browser company has launched "Unite" - a new edition of its software that includes a web server.
We're still getting our heads around it here, but Opera is selling the concept of allowing you to serve up content to the computers of other people you know, without having to go through an intermediary server. Developers can build applications for it, to enable further functionality.
Our immediate thought was "that sounds like a nightmare for the content industries" - if you can share music with your friends without having to go through a central server, then it makes it near-impossible to determine who's sharing music.
In fact the company's already built a "jukebox" app, where you and your friends can queue up tracks that'll all stream to each other's computers, like a jukebox. I wonder what the various copyright organisations of the world think of that, given that none of the rights seem to be being tracked.
There's a load of other apps, too, including a basic web server (for you to host websites on your PC), a "notes" app (for you to leave messages for people) and a photosharing app. We're sure it won't be long until there's an implementation of the BitBlinder tech we covered the other day for anonymous Bittorrent usage through the browser.
It'll also be interesting to see what Opera's plans are for this tech in the mobile arena. The company has a strong showing in that area, and giving ordinary people the ability to host websites on their mobile phones would be an interesting development.
We're looking forward to really digging in to this tech and seeing what's possible, and we'll keep you updated. Maybe we're just giddy with the thrill of the new, but if this takes off then Opera could actually have delivered on their promise to "reinvent the web".
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