Facebook’s Sights Set on Browser Opera?

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Shortly following its announced $1 billion dollar acquisition of photo application provider Instagram last month, Facebook could have its sights set on another high profile move: expanding into the area of web browsers.

According to a report from Pocket-lint, the social network is exploring buying Opera Software, the company behind the Opera web browser. The software itself could provide users with a more integrated social networking experience via desktop and mobile platforms.

In recent statistics unveiled from data monitoring site StatCounter, Opera’s browser market share accounted for 1.72% of total use during the past year. However, an acquisition by Facebook could turn it into a more vital force in a market currently dominated by browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Opera’s browser is notable for being more popular on mobile devices rather than user desktops. In the past, the company worked closely with Nintendo, allowing an integrated version of its browser on devices including the Wii and Nintendo DS.

Facebook could look to significantly expand its offerings following its highly anticipated IPO just last week. The New York Times indicated on Sunday that sources at the company were hoping to move ahead with the release of a long rumored smartphone by sometime in 2013.

The social networking provider is already notable for operating the Open Compute Project, an initiative created to help with popularizing more efficient, open source data center designs.