Opera Software ASA has created a new community-centered site that allows users to blog and upload photos directly from their mobile phones.
Quietly launched in September to Opera browser users, the My Opera Community site is attracting an average of 1,000 new members per day, the browser developer has said.
A map of users shows that there is a dominant concentration of members in Europe and Asia, where mobile phone use is at its strongest, but other countries, like the United States, also have a number of bloggers.
In addition to its mobile-powered functions, the site gives members 300MB of space at no charge, to create a Weblog, store photo albums or create private forums. Users can publish from their mobile phones by sending an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service message), which instantly posts to a blog or adds an image to an online album.
“Blogging through a mobile is the next wave,” said Tor Odland, Opera communications director. “Its quite powerful, to be able to update a personal page from anywhere.”
Odland has a blog on the site that he has refreshed with images and comments from an Oslo horse show. He did find a limitation, though, when trying to send a 4-second film, shot with his Nokia 6630. “Being able to send video would be a great feature,” he wrote in the blog entry.
The stripped-down My Opera Community site could see similar suggestions from users as it grows. Jason Steffans, who has had a blog on the site for the last few weeks, noted that there are a number of features that more experienced bloggers will miss, like being able to edit the time stamp of a post.
But Steffans did note that despite these minor limitations, what Opera is offering will be compelling to many users.
“The community site is great for those that do not want to design their own site or pay for hosting costs,” he said. “When you combine the Opera-powered blogs with the Opera-powered photo albums, it really is an excellent product that is freely available.”
In creating the My Opera Community site, the browser developer will likely find itself trying to woo the same users as Flock, a forthcoming browser that is focused on providing social networking tools.
“My Opera will be a strong competitor to Flock,” said Odland. “Because that browser hasnt launched, its difficult to say how were unique over them, but as of right now, My Opera Community is about as socially focused and complete as you can get.”