Opera: Mobile social networking took off in 2008


Opera said that the amount of users accessing Facebook via its Opera Mini browser grew over 693 per cent over the course of 2008.

However, Facebook was not the most popular social network site overall, with that honour going to Russian social networking site Vkontakte. In the US, Facebook grew 1,632 per cent, while MySpace user growth was a mere 52 per cent.

The growth of Vkontakte can be attributed to Opera's popularity in Russian speaking countries. Opera's chief executive Jon Tetzchner told IT PRO that in Russia and Eastern European companies Opera's market share was as high as 25 per cent, even on the desktop and this moved across to mobile use. He said that its popularity in those territories was down to its features and its efficiency, which suited areas with poorer networks.

"We have a more efficient caching mechanism, so we can have 20 tabs open without loading that much data. If you're on a slow network or are paying per megabyte that has great appeal."

The report also said that Opera expected the gap between developed and developing to decrease as mobile internet connectivity becomes more prevalent in developing countries.

Tetzchner said that mobile usage was mirroring what people were doing on the desktop and would increase inline with that during 2009. "People are spending more and more time online and I don't see that changing."

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.