One of the great ironies of the whole Web 2.0 “social” connection fad is that although we are supposed to be connecting with one another on a more personal level, yet we still rely on the big corporations to do so. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Digg and hosting companies all dictate whether we can broadcast our message, however Opera is trying to buck the trend.
Opera Unite is a new concept in the Opera browser where you can use your computer as a small server, allowing other people to stream your music, photos and have a small, private chat room. Opera provides the interface (which can be edited with CSS to make it look unique) so you just have to generate your URL, allow your friends to connect, and share away.
Opera hasn’t been afraid of including additional modules in the past (often with cutting edge features such as a torrent client), but this is a new way of looking at how we use the internet. It means that you can, with very little knowledge share information with anyone you want. Don’t like Picasa’s interface? Host your own photos. Want to share your latest mashup? Allow your friends to stream from your computer.
As with any technology, there are teething problems, however there is an API available so budding developers can expand on the platform. The potential is there for a whole new way of getting in contact with people, but without the restrictions placed on you by “the man”.
One potential downside of this is artist’s rights and the privacy of users, which is in the news at the moment with the Pirate Bay and RAIA cases going on overseas. If anyone can share their music without a larger organisation, it makes policing much tougher. What about if the users wanted to start a private child pornography ring? Again, the freedom of information must be balanced with making sure that there is some security in the system.