Browser Alert: Will You Switch?
There is a new Web browser for Windows, Linux, and Mac computers. It’s called Vivaldi, and version 1.0 emerged from beta testing in early April, 2016. Vivaldi offers some interesting features, some never seen before in a browser. Here is a look at Vivaldi and my opinion of its chances of becoming a major player...
Vivaldi Browser is Here
First, a little history of Vivaldi. Its eponymous parent is Vivaldi Technologies, whose About page provides the official version of the company and browser’s origins. Briefly, former executives of Opera Software formed Vivaldi Technologies in early 2015 to create a browser that restores several features that have been eliminated from the Opera browser, and to go Opera and Chrome one better by combining them.
Vivaldi overlays many elements of the simple, compact, fast user interface of Opera on the powerful browsing and content rendering engine of Chromium, the foundation of Google’s Chrome browser. That’s fine with Google because Chromium is an open-source project; developers are free to use Chromium in accordance with it no-cost license agreement.
The Vivaldi browser was made available to developers as a “technical preview” beginning in February, 2015. More than 500,000 geeks downloaded the technical preview in its first ten days of availability; a lot of volunteer hours have gone into this browser! Vivaldi entered beta mode in November, 2015, and the feedback received from general consumers has been incorporated into the first official “production ready” release, v1.0, which hit the Web in April, 2016.
Vivaldi is designed for power users, the kind of Web surfer who is never satisfied with default settings. Most of us are happy if we can just see the Web pages we request.
The uber-geeks targeted by Vivaldi want total control over the look, feel, and behavior of their browser, and Vivaldi delivers.
Vivaldi has a minimalist user interface, with only essential icons and buttons available by default. Its color scheme changes depending on the color scheme of the page currently being displayed, a feature that could be confusing or irritating. But the color scheme, themes, placements of menu bars and sidebars, and other details can be set permanently by the user.
An Evolving Browser
Vivaldi’s features include the ability to “stack” and “tile” tabs; these are two ways to associate Web pages with each other and manage them as a group. You can stack tabs on top of each other and save them as if they were one bookmark. When you open a stack, you can tile all of the tabs in it so that they appear side-by-side on your screen.
A “speed dial” Vivaldi internal page provides one-click access to specified bookmarks or stacks that you use frequently. “Quick commands” execute several browser actions with one combination keystroke, like Ctl-Shift-L, to speed up tasks like searching bookmarks, browsing history, open tabs, and settings. Mouse gestures can handle tasks like tab switching and keyboard activation. “Chrome-less mode” is a full-screen mode that gives users more screen real estate without distractions. (In this context, "chrome" refers to the borders, scroll bars and other user interface elements.)
Vivaldi is rapidly evolving, with updates rolling out weekly. Already, my current version is 1.2. If you would prefer a browser that doesn’t change often, Vivaldi is not for you.
Once you get used to Vivaldi’s interface, it seems to glide through common tasks faster than the established Big Three of browsers (Chrome, IE, and Firefox). I've seen reports suggesting that Vivaldi is a little more sluggish when loading and displaying pages than the competition. But in my testing, pages seem to load noticeably faster than with Chrome or Firefox. I was also pleased that RoboForm and other Chrome extensions worked with Vivaldi.
Vivaldi’s memory consumption - a popular objective measurement of browser efficiency - is middle-of-the-road. (Firefox is still the most memory-efficient browser.)
Vivaldi is still young and changing almost daily. No doubt the efficiency of its code will improve over time, probably a short time. If you want to try a browser that can be customized and optimized more than any other, give Vivaldi a look.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Jun 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Browser Alert: Will You Switch? (Posted: 15 Jun 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved