back to article Google makes Opera bloggers an offer they can't refuse: Use Chrome

Google is warning Opera web browser users they must switch to Chrome in order to use, the search giant's blog-hosting service. No technical incompatibilities have been found to justify the alarm. After a reader tip-off, El Reg created a Google blog using Opera 12.0 for Mac this morning, and received this message: …


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  1. Jaques Croissant

    Epic trolling

    Hell hath no fury like an Opera bore scorned, failing to keep a straight face here..

    1. leexgx

      Re: Epic trolling

      i use opera my self apart from some M$ sites (hotmail and some of there technet stuff) and some obscure ones i never use, I found it hard to hit an site that does not work unless they do something for Opera to brake it (that norm means the site has an personal issue with opera or is been payed to do it or just Crap at site coding trying to do fancy stuff that only works under IE6/8)

      i still use Chrome thought as it works well and fast and secure, just I prefer all my persistent tabs under opera

      1. Tellymel

        Re: Epic trolling

        Just trying Opera, but can't get to it redirects me to yellow pages 'superpages', is this a bug, virus, or shoddy browser?

  2. toadwarrior

    to avoid anti-trust issues they can just it was an employee's android phone taken over by a botnet that made the change.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so is going to go "non-standard" in terms of HTML? because all I'd want are the standard parts, supported by all standards compliant browsers. And if did that then a simple switch to a competing blog platform would be on the cards.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      That was my thought, too.

      "If you are having problems, try Google Chrome." Really? Sure you don't mean "If you are having problems, try a different blog host because this one sucks."?

      1. JeffyPooh

        Switch away from Blogger? OMG!!!

        Next thing you'll be telling me to switch away from Google's Adsense and do without the $36 *per century* of income it provides. LOL.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or not

      My experience is Opera's standards implementation has often been incomplete. It's not unreasonable to cut QA costs by not verifying everything works on every browser, and only verify the ones normal people actually use.

  4. Justin Clements

    Google just don't get it.

    Google, meet the EC (again), EC, meet Google (again). I believe you're all familiar with each other already? Funny that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Writer

    Are you implying you already has Opera installed?

  6. /dev/me

    What was that again, something with standards?

    I once thought the whole idea of basing the web on open standards was that website builders don't have to support browsers, only standards. But it was just a dream...

    1. mraak

      Re: What was that again, something with standards?

      But, but, but ..... HTML5 is *open*

    2. streaky

      Re: What was that again, something with standards?

      Open if you're Google or Apple and you run the show, there's a reason some of us are steering well-clear.

    3. tomban

      Re: What was that again, something with standards?

      This all smacks of those "This site is best viewed in Netscape Navigator" messages and icons from circa 1997.

  7. spencer

    Web standards

    If this is being done deliberately, this won't end well. Users won't have it, and it'll inevitably create a load of ill will and bad press.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Web standards

      One can only hope it ends bad. But corporations such as these have their ways to mitigate disasters.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: Web standards

        "But corporations such as these have their ways to mitigate disasters."

        Until they meet the EU. Just ask MS.

  8. Harry

    Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?

    If google cannot design a web page that works with any W3C-compliant browser, then that is incompetence and its webmaster should be instantly dismissed.

    If google is deliberately creating web pages that don't work, or is deliberately using scaremongering tactics to pretend that other browsers will not work, then that is deliberate cowboy behaviour and the top men in google need to be sent instantly to jail, without passing go, and instructed to stay there for a very long time.

    Google's new motto: we ONLY do evil.

    1. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Re: Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?

      This isn't about Google supporting other browsers, it's about them using sneaky backdoors to increase usage of their own: 'warnings' of incompatibilities, default also-install-Chrome options on freeware, for two...

    2. Richard North

      Re: Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?

      I use Blogspot, and I also use the latest build of Opera.

      Everything works perfectly, the recurrent warning is bullshit, pure and simple.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another example of a big corporate abusing the market to the detriment of individual choice.

  10. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    "Google is warning Opera web browser users they must switch to Chrome in order to use"

    No it isn't, it is suggesting they try Chrome if they experience problems on Blogger with Opera, as Opera is now officially unsupported.

    Or, at least, that's how I read the text of that banner.

    Yes, it would be interesting to know the technical reasons why, if only to stave off the tediously predictable claims that the only possible reason for Google to do this is because they want Opera dead.

    If they really wanted Opera dead they'd code this so it worked even if you changed the User-Agent string, because it's not that hard to detect Opera accurately in JavaScript (look for the browser that implements the specs correctly). It seems more likely that they just don't care about a browser with 2.4% market share.

    (I look forward to my #fail response.)

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      "Some parts of Blogger will not work" is not an invitation, it's a statement implying itself to be true, leading the user to infer that blogger and opera are incompatible, not that they might be, yet the evidence so far is that it's also a big fat lie.

      If you can provide proof that blogger breaks in Opera then it would be a statement of truth.

      However you'd still be wrong, because you're attempting to argue that it's merely a helpful tip and not a warning that things will definitely break.

      I don't use Opera and I like google products, but that doesn't change the fact that they're still lying. I don't like blatant lies.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby


        Shucks, Graham, you've got it all wrong.

        They didn't mean to imply with a nasty threat that you shouldn't use Opera.

        Oh no, it was some poorly worded error/warning message to indicate that they were no longer going to ensure support for Opera.

        This means that when they supposedly run their user acceptance tests, they won't run the tests against Opera.

        It was all a misunderstanding. That rogue programmer who made that mistake and captured all of that unencrypted data... He was assigned to this project.... (yeah, that's the ticket...)

        To accuse Google of doing anything that underhanded is just plain ignorance on the part of the accuser....

        Now I wonder how many down votes I get before people catch two references... One to any old SNL series of sketches where Jon Lovitz ?sp? Uses the catch phase.., 'yeah that's the ticket' or the second reference to South Park's Michael Jackson reference...

    2. Joe Drunk

      The only fail is on Google's behalf. Granted, I haven't used Opera on the desktop since V8 but if changing user agent string magically makes the website function as it should then this is just a Google scam. Your typical non-IE user is above average technically and won't fall for this sham so I'm wondering who they are targetting since the message doesn't seem to appear in IE8 (I just tried).

  11. Crisp

    Google had not responded to our request for comment

    Do they ever? Companies that hold us in contempt with their silence are not doing themselves any favours.

    1. GeorgeTuk

      Re: Google had not responded to our request for comment

      We don't know how long they had?

      Or what else is going on?

  12. oldredlion


    It might not be Evil with a capital E but it is a little bit evil, trying to increase market share like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boooo!

      Or like exclusively advertising your product on your homepage.

    2. Crisp

      Re: Boooo!

      The diet coke of evil?

    3. jaminbob

      Re: Boooo!

      That's what was going through my mind as I read this... "don't be evil..."

  13. Fihart

    Opera, boringly efficient

    How can one have a life so barren that internet browsers are a topic for debate. I've heard people being rude about Opera (fair enough, but really ! ). To go to the trouble to accuse users of Opera of being boring is just a get-a -life scenario.

    It's a browser, it seems to work quite well for me and it seems to run faster than others I have tried.

    I don't appreciate being bullied by the likes of Google or Yahoo -- the latter's recentish email version actually doesn't work very well with Opera so I've stuck with the old Yahoo.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Opera, boringly efficient

      I use Opera because I flip between Windows and Mac a lot. Of the cross-platform offerings, Safari stinks on Windows (and isn't exactly fast on Mac, either); I don't trust Google enough to use Chrome; and Firefox's UI on Mac still feels like using a browser over a VNC session.

      Opera, on the other hand, works pretty well on both platforms, and it has a decent mail client built in to it (which I use as my primary mail client on Windows).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes it's important that google support Opera or both people who use it might complain!

    1. atomic jam

      Re: Important

      Hi there AC

      I'm one of the two users you speak of, I'm probably one of the two users of Linux too. If you don't like Opera, don't use it and stop trolling. I use opera every day as Firefox is just too heavy for my wee rig, I don't find anything wrong with it. I don't like Chrome, it's too bland and has started asking for a log in (which can be ignored) and since I'm one of the two users of Linux, I can't use Internet Explorer to see what it's like.

  15. Mike Judge
    Thumb Up

    Fortunately, Opera has a very nice site patching feature.

    So it doesn't really matter what Google do, Opera can make our browsers APPEAR to be anything that works, or tweak the javascript, layout or CSS to work around website bugs (and sometimes Opera bugs).

    Obviously, the downside would be that it falsely deflates Opera's marketshare and inflates Chromes on web stats counters sites...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Fortunately, Opera has a very nice site patching feature.

      Obviously, the downside would be that it falsely deflates Opera's marketshare and inflates Chromes on web stats counters sites...

      And by sheer coincidence, Chrome is now the most popular browser. I wonder how many "Chromes" are actually Operas in a shabby coat?

  16. GeorgeTuk

    Never got this...

    "Google is the subject of an antitrust investigation into alleged abuses of the advertising market: one complaint is that it favours its own websites and services higher in the rankings than they should be."

    If they own the website then surely they can organise it how they want?! Or am I missing something?

    I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if I made a website same as an existing Google product and came second.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    False negative through outdated over-restrictive regex perhaps.

    My guess is they're checking for supported versions of Opera with a regex that looks something like:


    (assuming for example they support opera from v4 up), and they haven't updated it for v12 yet so their server ends up thinking it's a less-than-earliest-supported version. I've seen similar happen before.

    1. /dev/me

      Re: False negative through outdated over-restrictive regex perhaps.

      If that where true, that could be tested.

      On the other hand, if the regex against Opera 12 turns out false, it should lead to a default "unrecognized User Agent, but we'll do our best"-scenario, not a warning.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: False negative through outdated over-restrictive regex perhaps.

      Whis is why Opera reports it's UserAgent as 9.80 forevermore....

      Because so many high profile websites are written by kids in exchange for pocketmoney...

      Even Amazon UK can't sort out their Seller section of their website to work with Opera. (they don't even need to do ANYTHING other than just send the same code they send Firefox, but the useless cretins send Opera broken code for reasons only known to Amazon).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How Opera reports its user agent.

        Thanks for the link. If you had read it yourself, you would have seen that it says:

        The generic user agent string for Opera on desktop is given below:

        Opera/9.80 ($OS; U; $LANGUAGE) Presto/$PRESTO_VERSION Version/$VERSION

        where VERSION is the version of Opera

        and if you knew how to read regexes, you would have seen that that was what I was suggesting that Google were checking for.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: False negative through outdated over-restrictive regex perhaps.

      No, it doesn't work with Opera 11 either.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: False negative through outdated over-restrictive regex perhaps.

      Very possible, but it hardly matters what the actual reason is. Anyone making the effort to identify the browser is basically admitting guilt. Bad Google! Back to web programming 101 for you!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's happening when MS are championing standards and Google are trying to make everyone use their own browser, while making an Operating System where "the browser is the operating system."

  19. ArmanX

    Why the Opera hatered?

    I want to know - why all the Opera hate? It's a stable, fast browser, and it isn't built by Google, Microsoft, or Apple. It does what I want it to do, right out of the box. It has regular updates. It doesn't have any current major security flaws. And yet, Google keeps pulling this crap, as does Microsoft - even commenters here and in other forums. What has Opera done - besides not being Firefox - to deserve all that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the Opera hatered?

      I think the reason for the hatred is mainly down to the whining from Opera every time they feel wronged. Google projects used to pull the same "browser incompatible" malarkey on IE users, but everyone I know just carried on, ignored the message, and everything apparently worked. If Opera just STFU and relied purely on merit to build up a userbase, I suspect it would be doing a lot better than it is.

      1. Mike Judge

        Re: Why the Opera hatered?

        Of course they feel wronged.

        Easilly the best browser on the market, but with a tiny marketshare, because it's not got Google, Apple or Microsoft's money or inflience pushing it.

        Anyone that works in technology should feel aggrieved that money trumps technology.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Levente Szileszky

    The moment that stupid Fingleton of OFT made that comment...

    ...he should have lost his effin' job, for good.

    I cannot think of any situation when such an idiot would be allowed to head *any* watchdog company (forget the one that actually oversees the company he was praising, that's beyond crazy.) What a joke.

  22. heyrick Silver badge


    I'm using an older Firefox and the fancy Google logos (the specials you can interact with) are now replaced by a message telling me to use Chrome.

    The last time I tried Chrome (about a year and a half back, so maybe it is different?), it wanted to install itself someplace weird like "documents and settings", with one complete install per user. Once I found this out, it was instantly uninstalled (on an eeePC with SSDs, there's not enough space free for rubbish like that).

    Plus, I rely upon NoScript and ABP. Until Chrome can offer similar (or Opera, or...), then sorry, no deal. If this means Google intentionally breaks itself to promote its own browser at the cost of standards, then I guess that's their issue. Not mine. Google might be almighty, but there's always a possibility of a startup coming along if Google get unfirendly. After all, once upon a time AltaVista was god and Google was a surprise startup when people were asking "who needs another search engine?".

    1. Clive Summerfield

      Re: Chrome

      "Plus, I rely upon NoScript and ABP. Until Chrome can offer similar (or Opera, or...), then sorry, no deal."

      Hmmm, looks up to top right of Chrome browser window and spots the NotScript and ABP icons. There are many reasons for not using Chrome, but those aren't two of them.

    2. Phil Koenig

      Re: Chrome

      @heyrick: re: how Chrome installs in the user data folder etc:

      That is one of the main reasons I have avoided Chrome after my initial experiments with it.

      From what I can tell, the primary reason that Google did that was to circumvent limited-user application installation restrictions. I think Google may have even admitted this directly.

      In other words. places like businesses which don't want clueless users installing random junk on their PCs to keep them from screwing the company with malware, or bringing the 'net connection to its knees while they download DVD torrents, or uploading proprietary company secrets to Bulgaria - are to be sneered-at and Google wants to make it easier to do whatever the h*ll you want anyway.

      Surely it's not because they need to 'help' home users on limited accounts, because as we all know, the clueless home users are all using admin accounts with no password assigned.

      I have various other issues with it, like the auto-updates you can't control, the sharing of browsing details with the Googleplex, etc etc.

      I won't take away from Google's successes, they've built some nice products and technologies. But it's that megalomania problem...

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Chrome

        Actually installing to the user's directory causes quite a lot of issues, specifically with properly functioning Anti-Malware applications, since nothing should be running out of there on a properly managed system. And bbesides, shouldn't it ask 'Where do you want to install this? Program Files or Users?" and change the default depending on what rights the current user has.

        1. Goat Jam

          Re: Chrome

          "Actually installing to the user's directory causes quite a lot of issues, specifically with properly functioning Anti-Malware applications, since nothing should be running out of there on a properly managed system. And bbesides, shouldn't it ask 'Where do you want to install this? Program Files or Users?" and change the default depending on what rights the current user has."

          This caveat, of course, only applies to operating systems that a have a crazy, fucked up, abortion of a permissions system. ie: Windows

          1. Crazy Operations Guy

            Re: Chrome

            "This caveat, of course, only applies to operating systems that a have a crazy, fucked up, abortion of a permissions system. ie: Windows"

            What do you mean? The permission system in Windows closely mirrors that of other OSes:

            Administrators Group = wheel group

            UAC = sudo

            On every Unix and Unix-like system I have used, the first user crated has full permissions and the root account is disable for logon.

            the only thing I can think that you are trying to make fun of is how Windows has much more granular permissions than other Operating Systems. Or maybe you are just spouting some FUD just because you don't like Windows.

            It would be just as fair to say that Unix-like OSes are the ones with the 'abortion of a permissions system' since you can only control Read, write and Execute for Owner, one of the Owner's Groups and World; where on Windows any object (Files, directories, registry keys, processes, User objects, etc...) can have an unlimited number of users or groups that all have varying permissions assigned to them (A hell of a lot more than just RWX)

    3. KjetilS

      Re: Chrome

      "Plus, I rely upon NoScript and ABP. Until Chrome can offer similar (or Opera, or...)"

      I'm the other Opera user (the first one replied further up).

      You can set Opera to block all JS by default and only allow it on a site-by-site basis.

      You can also do the same with Java/Flash.

      And it has a built in blocker similar to AB. (Right click on the page, block content, click on whatever you want to block)

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Chrome

      It'll install in a conventional manner, but you have to deliberately run the installer as admin to make it happen. I guess "Install for all users or just me" and then leaving it to the OS to handle privilege escalation in the conventional manner was too bloody complicated for Google?

      The bit that makes me weep is the update process. Google seem to have come up with an abortion of an approach that manages to preserve the worst parts of both automagic updates without asking and manual updates, while dumping the positive aspects of both. No updates or prompts advising of a new version happen at all, until I hit "About Google Chrome" in the tools menu, at which point it updates to the latest version without asking. Sheer bloody genius that one.......

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chrome

      Errm Opera has had those for about 2+ years now...

  23. Lars Silver badge

    Learning from Microsoft

    Was it DDos or something. Funny they are concerned with such a small (and good) player as Opera.

  24. Don Mitchell

    IE 9 too?

    I've seen features (like image search) go dark for IE 9 within the last week. Have other's noticed this? As their browser climbs to the top, will Google snuff out its competition by making search and youtube only usuable by chrome?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar message in gmail for firefox

    I noticed a similar message showing up in gmail last week on a not-so-updated version of Firefox (seems like firefox push out a new update every week now, gah.).

  26. edge_e

    Do no evil!

  27. Graham Wilson

    More bully-boy tactics.

    It never ends.

    Once upon a time, such tactics at law used to be considered as restrictive trade practice.

    Again, the only solution is legislation. The Googles and Microsofts of this world only begin to understand when fines hit hundreds of millions of dollars.

    ...But then it doesn't bother me, I'd never use anyway.

  28. Antoinette Lacroix

    If it doesn't run with Opera, give it a miss. .

  29. ScissorHands

    What comes after the Swedish Chef version?

    When Microsoft targeted Opera with broken pages on MSN, Opera released the "Bork" version, that rendered MSN in "Swedish-chef-speak". I hope Opera unleashes a "Mahnamahna" version this time.

  30. Jason Hindle

    For those who want to use Opera safely

    There's always WordPress. A blogging site now owned by a browser company must be looking very tempting at the moment.

    Loved the sub heading BTW.

  31. stanimir

    User agent

    a) Blindly using user agent (on the server) for any decision is beyond stupid.

    b) I am (have been) seeing "Try Chrome" for ages with Firefox using google docs. Blocking scripts w/ ABP does the trick but it's retarded from google to keep pushing its own browser after numerous "dismiss" action.

    Given b) I am not sure how this article makes it to the news section.

  32. Phil Koenig

    The minority IS right

    "Robot" wrote:

    " In fact, the HP TouchPad does a better job in CSS rendering than Opera. Of course it is possible that Opera is the compliant one, and the others are all non-compliant, but the "minority is right" situation is not necessarily a good thing for web developers."

    Actually, the person who invented CSS was then and is now still working for Opera. Opera has historically been the most CSS-compliant web browser in the world.

    What would be good for web developers is if they weren't so lazy and actually learned what a W3C standard is.

  33. Phil Koenig

    To the Google defenders, I give you the Swedish Chef..

    If Google's claim about incompatibility were actually technically true, one would have expected them to have a dialogue with Opera about it before trying to chase all Opera's users away from their websites.

    The fact that they didn't appear to make any such effort, to me, is telling. Especially since no one seems to have actually uncovered a rendering problem with current versions of Opera there.

    Perhaps Opera needs to release an update to their "Swedish Chef version", which converts all text on Google properties to Swedish Chef speak.

  34. Smartypantz

    EVIL assholes

    And the worlds most swollen parasite, they are.. mmrrhh..

  35. Smartypantz

    Programming for the web browser

    "the browser is the operating system."

    This is the stupidest idea i haver ever seen. All the "cloud providers" keep pushing it because they want to own your data. Nevertheless it has been a pipedream from day one.

    it boils down to: "we want the same amount og functionality in the browser, as in native applications. and we expect a lot less complexity" !?!?! WTF?

    everyday i praise my self lucky that i am NOT the one programming FUCKING javascript for the MOTHERFUCKING webbrowsers (unlike my poor colleagues).

    Luckily i spend my time in a somewhat predictable environment (sysadm, a bit of serverside java and bash+perl)

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Programming for the web browser

      "everyday i praise my self lucky that i am NOT the one programming FUCKING javascript for the MOTHERFUCKING webbrowsers (unlike my poor colleagues)."

      At a cinema near you: The Code Warrior, starring Samuel L. Jackson...

  36. Bernd Felsche

    Standards optional for Google?

    Imagine if ...

    ... your web site(s) only had to support standards and not browsers.

    Oh I remember: That's what (Sir) Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he invented the mechanisms for the WWW in 1990

    Google not evil? Perhaps.

    But it's certainly not doing any good by attacking browsers instead of encouraging compliance with standards.

  37. Gil

    I think the real story here is that somebody out there still uses Opera!

    Welcome to 1999!

  38. Brian Sherwood Jones

    El Reg already has the answer

    It looks like part of the google-facebook quest for market.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    While we Applaude Google... for something or other...

    And we condemn Opera for being backwatered yesterdays news that was crap then.... like 10 years ago it was crap....

    The people in Google play dirty because they are dirty....

    Still anyone who uses Opera deserves to be cast out of the camp as one does with the unfortunates blighted with poxes and boils.

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