If you’re forced to work in an office and you constantly fear the evil eye of your boss creeping up behind your cubicle, you might be aware of the “boss button.” It’s a dedicated button or shortcut that can instantly hide whatever you’re doing and replace it with, say, a spreadsheet of a TPS report. The idea has been around for a surprisingly long time, but Opera is bringing it to a new generation of slackers gamers with its Opera GX browser.
The latest version of Opera GX sets your F12 key to “panic mode,” which instantly opens a new tab to one of a handful of innocuous sites. The idea is, naturally, to hide whatever you were really doing. Opera says that in a survey of 2,200 users in the US and UK, 36 percent admitted that they accessed “inappropriate content” at school or work. That third-and-a-bit admitted to mostly social media…but more than half (58 percent) said they’d checked out adult content. More than a fifth were threatened with “suspension or termination,” which, yeah, makes sense. But it’s interesting that Opera is being so open about Panic Mode basically being an emergency porn button among other things.
You’ll need to enable the Early Bird preview mode in order to check it out. After doing so, I’m not sold. One, I’m not a fan of Opera GX anyway — the “gamer” visual theme is off-putting and I don’t see why a gaming-tailored browser needs things like a cryptocurrency wallet and ChatGPT integration. Two, the default sites that randomly open when you activate Panic Mode are pretty generic like Wikipedia or Reddit. A couple of them might get you in trouble on their own in an office setting like YouTube, Twitch, and Steam. If you actually plan on using this feature, be sure to adjust it via “opera://settings/panic_button_settings” to go to something more clearly work-related.
Frankly, it seems like a lot less trouble to simply keep some real work in another full screen window and switch to it with alt-tab when the boss is around. Not that you’d ever need such a thing, right?