Perhaps the world could do without a new Web browser. Google’s Chrome, despite being a resource and battery hog, manages to get the work done for most, while Windows 10 continues to help Microsoft Edge be the default browser for millions of users. Jon S. von Tetzchner, co-founder and former CEO of Opera, believes that his Web browser dubbed Vivaldi can compete with the likes of Chrome and find its own user base. Ten months and over two million downloads since the release of Vivaldi’s first technical preview in January, Norway-based Vivaldi Technologies announces on Tuesday that its Web browser has grown mature to enter the beta phase of its life. It is available for download by anyone from the company’s website.
Vivaldi’s beta version label brings with it several features and improved stability, the company tells Gadgets 360. We’ve been testing the beta version for a week now and can recommend our readers to give it a try. It’s fast, it’s smooth, and its features are handy. We wouldn’t advise you to ditch Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari just yet, but can tell that Vivaldi has what it takes to offer a great browsing experience.
“All the major browsers today focus on having a simple browser out of the box, so they are all going for the same user group,” says Tetzchner. “They compete more on distribution than feature set. Our focus is on the more advanced user that wants to be able to do more with their browser and also has opinions about how to interact with it.”
The browser comes with a minimalistic interface which users can customise as they see fit. In fact, customisation is one of its strongest suits of Vivaldi. You can customise the placement of the address bar, and also decide the colour of the user interface. The browser offers a range of Quick Commands, keyboard shortcuts and support for mouse gestures – the settings of which can be altered and made additions to in accordance with your personal preference.
“The browser not only has tabs, but also tab stacks and can tile those tab stacks,” Tetzchner adds. “This allows you to work more efficiently with a lot of tabs and also with large screens. You can place the tabs on top, on the bottom, left or right. You can place the panel on the left or right. You can place the address bar at the top or bottom. Advanced users want that kind of control and more is coming.”
Chromium-based Vivaldi comes with a range of power user features that you wouldn’t get on other popular Web browsers. It comes with a built-in content blocker that can strip down ads from a webpage. Users can also change the font and colour of a webpage to suit their reading and working habits without requiring an installation of a third-party extension. Speaking of extensions, Vivaldi offers out-of-the-box support for add-ons available via Chrome Web Store.
The company says the Vivaldi learns from your browsing habits. As we observed, the browser was able to arrange the bookmarks on Speed Dial page on the basis of how frequently we visited a website, something other browsers offer as well. Vivaldi offers several more features, such as the ability to save notes.
“With notes you can grab a piece of text, including where you found it and even take a screenshot,” Tetzchner explains, adding, “Our goal is that any user should feel that the browser was designed for him or her individually, after a bit of tweaking.”
The company earlier this year promised that it would add Vivaldi Sync, a feature that will allow users to sync their bookmarks, passwords, settings etc across different computers, and M3, a built-in email client. Neither of the features is available in the beta version of the app, however. The company told us that both the features are “very high on” its priority list, but they are not ready for “prime time” as yet. The company also plans to eventually work on Vivaldi for mobile operating systems.
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