Extend Your Data Plan 50% with Opera Max

Opera Max is a data saving app that compresses web pages, images, videos and music on most of your applications either you are on a Mobile network or using WIFI. Using Opera Max you can save up to 50% data watching videos and 40% streaming songs. The app is offered by Opera and is available for free with no In-app purchases.

When your apps are silently eating data in the background then the Opera Max alerts the users and a quick option to block them.

Opera Max Screenshots

Other than data saving capabilities of the app, the feature I liked is the timelines. The timeline shows a detailed list of mobile apps and the amount of data the app used along with the amount Opera Max saved.

In the app management section, block the unwanted apps to access mobile data or WI-FI data or restrict them to use the data in the background. If you don't want the Opera Max to save data while using your favorite apps, whitelist the app.

Opera Max does a great job saving your data and caring about users privacy. To respect your privacy, the Opera Max won't compress encrypted data mainly the app downloads or updates that happened through the Google Play Store or the data you used when accessing email, bank, facebook, twitter applications.

Great Day Readers! To give more insights into the application and its development, Sergey Lossev responded with the answers. Sergey Lossev is the Head of Product for Opera Max at Opera. This interview became possible with the help of  Mrunmaiy Abroal, Director Communications. Here are the Q&A exclusive for our readers.

1. Tell us about your team.

We have a lean team of 25 core members. The team includes me, the product manager, and two designers who are based out of California. We have one more designer based in Norway. We develop our Android app in Norway and Poland and our main server development team works out of Poland. I guess you could say that Opera Max is designed in California and made in Europe.

2. What inspired you to create Opera Max?

At Opera, we believe that the right idea can change everything. The idea to create Opera Max came from several different experiences. I used to commute by train every day to San Francisco. I used to watch videos, listen to music and surf the web when I was in the train. The problem was I had a 2 GB data plan and I kept using it all up in the first week of the month. When I went to Moscow to meet my family, I met people who faced the same issue of running out of data way too fast. This happens to people across the globe. There are two ways to make data cheaper: either we make every app on our phone more cost effective, or, we can make one app that makes all the other apps cost-effective. By a twist of fate, I happened to work at a company that had the resources, and brilliant engineering talent to actually do something about this idea. So with a small team inside Opera, we built Opera Max. It saves you money while using all your other apps, by stretching your data plan to last longer. That way you don’t need to keep buying more to stay connected.

3. What was the biggest challenge to developing Opera Max?

Scaling. We had to figure out how to scale our development to manage all sorts of device standards. To overcome this, we dove way below the surface into Android's base-level code and expanded its capability to handle all types of traffic.

In order to scale, you need a technical way of accessing data to reroute it from the app on a user's device to the data center and back to the phone. Using some VPN technology that's baked into Android, our biggest challenge was to create a data path that was consumer friendly, and not all corporate like most VPN-based services are. Opera Max's super power is to save smartphone users bandwidth (and money) on their data plans by compressing the data their apps use—some other apps can do that too but our secret sauce is to do this for image, music, and video-based apps like Instagram, Vine, and YouTube—when going about their normal business.

One of the hurdles the team had to get past was the technical warning users get when apps access third-party services. Android's VPN technology made it easier to find a way around this and make the app more accessible to a broader consumer base in cooperation with Android OEM’s like Samsung and many others. But the natural progress of the internet's primary communications protocol created another barrier. Most cost-conscious smartphone users are in emerging markets , but we wanted Max to relevant all over the globe and a lot of carriers in US-shipped phones had started using IPv6. But Android VPN services when we started only worked with IPv4 traffic, so our app would break. To solve that problem, the Opera development team created a selector switch that allows the user to tell their carrier to use IPv4 or IPv6, or whether or not a hybrid is acceptable.

The Opera team also encountered a big post-development hurdle. When users go to the data usage settings on their Android devices, they get a list of apps and a statement of how much data each one uses. But Android gets confused and attributes all usage of other apps that route through the VPN to Opera Max. In other words, the user sees that, for example, the other apps used 1 MB of data and the VPN app used 1 GB of data. Since we're out to save app users money on their data plans, it looked like we weren't delivering on that promise. The Max app actually did save you a ton of data; Android just mislabeled Opera Max's usage to show total usage on the device.

To fix the issue, we jacked into Android's VPN subsystem code at the Linux level with KitKat and Lollipop and tweaked it . Then, we integrated that into the OS for some of our top OEM partners like Samsung,  along with a second binary of complementary improvements and OEM specific configurations. This package works at the gut level of Android, using Linux IP tables and modified TUN/TAP drivers.

With all that done, we brought the app to market in both Google Play, but also via preloading it with a number of Android OEM’s all over the world. It was surprising to see how easy it was to partner with OEMs for Opera Max's distribution, even though standing out as an Android app maker in Google Play is a real challenge in the current competitive environment. To differentiate ourselves from the competition, we partnered with OEMs to create a Data Saver feature for Android and packaged our own technical improvements into Android's VPN functionality. This now loads with the Google Play version of Opera Max and allows companies such as Samsung, Intex,  and Xiaomi (in Beta channel only right now) to offer data savings as a core feature.

4. What are the new features of the Opera Max?

We are now adding tablet support (to ship shortly). Now, people can enjoy Netflix with Opera Max savings on a bigger Android screen.

We've included right-to-left language support, so Opera Max can speak the native language of more than 600 million people, including languages like Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, Farsi and so on.

We expanded our savings settings and features that boost savings further, beyond our newly released "smart alerts" for managing background data usage abuse by various sneaky apps.

We are also researching how to help Opera Max users not only save data and manage their apps data usage behavior, but also how to give people control over their anonymity, privacy, and security while they are using mobile or Wi-Fi data. Soon you will hear about some of the exciting game-changing features coming out this year with Opera Max.

5. Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?

I strongly believe that India is currently the most important market in the world for Opera Max, and for spreading the internet to more people.

Opera Max is an Android app with one mission: to help all Android users have the best possible data experience. An Android smartphone without data is like a car without gas. It can't take you the places you want to go. This is why getting connected to mobile data is a huge life-changing opportunity for many millions of people in the world. Unfortunately, data is still expensive for hundreds of millions.

So, instead of endorsing closed or walled-in gardens, Opera Max has found a way to provide the best possible mobile data experience and app experience for Android users, in a net-neutral way. By focusing on three simple things, Opera Max makes mobile data more affordable and welcoming.

First, unmatched data savings.: We want you to save data in Android apps or on websites. Save on video streaming, music streaming, images, and browsing web pages.

Secondly, we want to protect users from background data abuse. Opera Max analyzes all of your apps and alerts you when apps use too much data in the background without your approval. One tap and you can manage those misbehaving apps.

Finally, we want to help you out with intuitive and intelligent data usage reports. With separate mobile and Wi-Fi data usage timelines, you can see when any apps use your data, for how long, how much data was used, how much was used in the background vs. foreground and how much data Opera Max saved you. The goal here is to help people understand where their money is going , which encourages trust and more usage of mobile data.

When you make a data-savings engine capable of compressing videos and music and then make it work seamlessly with native Android apps, you get a powerful tool for lowering the cost of data usage and helping people maximize their web usage.

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