I think that Facebook buying the Opera Web browser would be a silly move. You know what would be an even dumber move though? Dropping the increasingly popular Google Chrome in favor of Opera as a recommended Web browser.
Never-the-less, that’s exactly what a story in Neowin claims. I quote, “It is beginning to look like Facebook’s management are changing their recommendations towards certain browsers. As of today, Facebook’s “unsupported web browsers” page has removed Google’s web browser, Chrome, and replaced it with Opera.”
Leaving aside the convoluted grammar, the story makes it clear that it’s claiming that Facebook has dropped Chrome as a most favored Web browser for Opera. There’s only one problem with this report. It’s not true.
The link in Neowin story resolved to Facebook’s main page for me with both my usual browsers–Chrome and Firefox. Thinking perhaps that this Web browser warning page might only show up if you used a browser you’d hadn’t used before for Facebook, I tried Facebook and the link again with Web, the latest version of GNOME’s Epiphany Web browser. I found that Web worked just fine with Facebook as well and I saw no sign of an error message.
I then checked on Facebook’s official list of supported Web browsers and guess what? Facebook still “officially” supports Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Opera? It didn’t make the list.
So, before you get too excited about Facebook buying Opera, you might want to look more closely at what Facebook is actually doing.
Personally, I think if Facebook really wants a Web browser, they don’t have to pay $800-million for Opera. They can just write their own for a hundredth of that price using the open-source WebKit. After all, that’s what both Apple and Google did with Safari and Chrome respectively.
Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zuckerberg bought Opera for a premium anyway. I mean this is the guy who bought Instagram for a billion bucks! But, Facebook isn’t dumping Chrome in favor of Opera along the way. Facebook’s leadership may make foolish decisions from time to time, but they’re not that dumb.