Opera Software has released Opera 11.50, the latest version of its desktop browser for Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. The new iteration of the browser adds support for Bengali and Punjabi languages, in addition to the existing support for Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Jan Standal, VP Desktop Products, Opera Software, informed MediaNama that Opera’s desktop browser has a marketshare of 3% while its mobile browser commanded 60% of the Indian market. He said that the Indian market is still a new focus area for the desktop division, but the company intends to use local resources and growth on mobile, to stimulate growth also on desktop. When we asked about the basis for adding support for the two new Indic languages in the release, he responded that it is based on the usage of Opera’s mobile browser, in addition to user feedback. Statistics for language pack downloads were not available.

To enable support for Indic languages, users need to download the language pack from Opera’s Language files page, and select it through the Preferences>General>Languages menu option. The elements of the browser change to the selected language. Opera also checks the server for versions of webpages in the selected language, if these are available in more than one language.

Opera 11.50 also adds a new type of dynamic extensions, dubbed as Speed dial extensions, which are updated with web content such as weather or news updates and cricket score, in the browser’s speed dial (shortcuts to recently/most visited website) page. Some of the extensions that are featured include Read It Later, Webdoc, The Hype Machine and StockTwits, among others.

The browser also features a more minimalistic look, password synchronization through Opera Link across Opera browsers, and support for advanced HTML5 elements such as Session History and Navigation, the W3C File API, classlist and <time>.

Earlier this year, Microsoft also launched Internet Explorer 9 with support for a Hindi interface. We would like to see support for other Indic languages in addition to improvement in the quality of translation for existing ones in all web browsers, since these play a critical role in driving internet use.

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