Opera update brings Spotify, Apple Music and more to browser sidebar

Opera is rolling out a handy new feature for music and podcast enthusiasts: a built-in Player interface in the browser’s sidebar.

On desktop, the Opera browser gives users access to a ‘sidebar’ full of handy tools. For example, Opera recently added built-in access to Twitter and Instagram in the sidebar. At a basic level, Opera just runs the website for these services in a small overlay in the sidebar instead of a full tab. Still, it’s neat and a helpful integration.

The new Player shortcut does the same with streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music. Users can quickly sign in to a supported service and easily access and play music or podcasts in the Player. However, Opera also added some intelligence to the feature.

Unlike playing music in a regular browser tab, the sidebar Player can detect when users start streaming a video or audio file in another tab and automatically pause your music or podcast. Once the media stops in the other tab, Player can resume your music.

Additionally, Player works with your computer’s media keys for controlling playback, so you don’t even need to open the sidebar to change tracks or pause your podcast.

While a simple feature, Opera’s new sidebar Player is a smart one. As someone who often listens to music while working on my PC, I can see the Player being a huge help, especially the auto-pause feature.

Opera is available for free here, or if you already have the browser installed, you can check for updates by clicking the ‘O’ logo and then ‘Update & Recovery.’