[BROWSER WARS] Vivaldi 2.0 Takes on Chrome

Category: Browsers

The latest version of the Vivaldi browser adds syncing, end-to-end encryption, dramatically faster startup speeds, and some nifty new features. Vivaldi is still famous as “the most configurable browser on the web” and a zealous guardian of privacy. What’s not to like? Here's what you need to know...

What's New in Vivaldi 2.0?

In February I wrote “Vivaldi May Be The Real Chrome-Killer.” Apparently, Vivaldi’s developers took me seriously. They have just released v2.0 of the browser and it makes significant strides in that direction.

Vivaldi Version 2.0’s startup routines required extensive revision to eliminate long wait times. The browser loads the history of almost everything you have ever done with it since it was installed, so after a few months of heavy use startup was taking way too long for a significant minority of users.

Dozens of smaller enhancements are cosmetic or convenience tweaks. For example, during setup, you can choose to position your tabs at the top (the default), the side, or the bottom of the browser window. You can tile tabs to squeeze more tabs into your display, and customize the size of each tile by pulling or pushing its corners. There are more background images from which to choose, and more ways to switch tabs.

Web Panels is another nifty Vivaldi feature. Panels are a great way to browse your favorite sites alongside your main window, instead of switching back-and-forth between tabs. If you need more room for your work, you can float Web Panels over the page smoothly, rather than resizing the main window.

Vivaldi Browser 2.0

The Notes feature lets you jot down notes or ideas about web pages as you browse. The built-in screen capture helps you take screenshots of full web pages or a portion of a page. You can capture to the clipboard, or directly to a file. If you're a photography nerd, you'll love the Image Properties feature, which shows metadata for images on the Web.

Fast Forward allows you to quickly jump to the next page of a site instead of scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page to hit Next. Rewind takes you back to the first page you visited of a website. Both Fast Forward and Rewind can be accessed from the toolbar, keyboard shortcuts or mouse gestures.

A comprehensive Vivaldi Help area and a set of video tutorials are available to help you get started and understand how to use all the features available.

I've Got a Syncing Feeling...

Adding sync to Vivaldi required writing code for servers as well as client apps. (Vivaldi comes in Windows, Linux, and MacOS versions, hence the plural). The result is a syncing environment even more powerful than Google’s. For one thing, privacy-conscious Vivaldi provides end-to-end encryption to keep your sensitive data safe from prying eyes.

Also, Vivaldi syncs more types of data than Chrome, including options to synchronize bookmarks and speed-dial entries, passwords, auto-complete data, typed history, extensions and notes (except attachments). Of course, what gets synced is completely controlled by the user. When you run your first sync you will be guided through the creation of a free Vivaldi cloud account. Everyone must create at least one password used to log in to that account, and Vivaldi strongly urges you to create a second password, used just for encryption, which is known only to you.

“We don’t want to be able to read any of your data,” says von Tetzchner. Although Vivaldi uses the open-source Chromium engine to render pages, the user interface is their own. And emphatically unlike Google, Vivaldi does not collect information about what you do online, and does not build a dossier about any of its users.

Coming Soon...

But there is still some work to be done. There’s still no mobile version, for one thing. CEO Jon von Tetzchner, who co-founded Opera as well as Vivald , admits that a mobile version is a bit trickier than management once thought and may not appear until 2019. But there’s plenty in the desktop version 2.0 to keep power users entertained until then.

An Opera-like built-in email client is also missing from Vivaldi. Although Vivaldi has a perfectly useable Webmail system, von Tetzchner feels it also needs a native client he described as “not quite ready yet.” Maybe after the mobile version…

If you like your browser small, fast, and incurious about your doings, Vivaldi 2.0 is something you definitely should try.

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Most recent comments on "[BROWSER WARS] Vivaldi 2.0 Takes on Chrome"

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I love it. Been using it since you wrote about it last time. Had trouble with Firefox and Chrome constantly slowing down and having to restart them. Not so with Vivaldi!!

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I tried this browser the last time you mentioned it.
I can't remember exactly what turned me off on it, but I may try it again.
One thing that confuses me is the search box at the top right of the browser that says " search with bing". Now why would they put bing which is super slow in the connection ? Seems counter intuitive.

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I like this in general but I am still on the learning curve. The one thing I noticed that they have bookmarks much more difficult than anyone else. I don't know why they have all those categories that I have to search through and they have two or three places to find the bookmarks. Can't they just have one

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I just installed it. It does load very fast. It uses Chrome extensions. So you go the Chrome web store to add extensions to it. I installed the extensions I use (adblock, ghostery, etc.).

Yes you can change the default search from Bing to whatever. It was a little work to install Flash. (You are wondering why I would install Flash ... I still go to sites that need it. Hopefully someday it will go away).

Anyway, so far so good. But for now I still have Firefox as my default browser and will experiment more with Vivaldi.

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I've been using it since a very early incarnation, May three years ago, it is now my main browser. I absolutely love it. The history is as extensive as you say, Bob, if you accidentally close all your tabs, you can go back through any specific day you choose to find them all and reopen them again. It is fast, customizable and the only thing I have against it, is that I can't use it on my iPhone or iPad, I DO use it on my Win 10 desktop and MacBook Pro. I love it, I still use Firefox too, but spend more time with Vivaldi by far.

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I have four laptops (not counting a Chromebook which can only handle the Chrome browser). On those four, Firefox is my default browser on two and Vivaldi is default on the other two. Firefox was my only default until two laptops started having problems with it a few updates ago. I went to Vivaldi on them and have had no problems since. Incidentally, two of the laptops run Windows 10 (one each Firefox and Vivaldi) and two run Linux Mint (again, one Firefox and one Vivaldi). So far, so good.

Posted by:

09 Oct 2018

I installed it right after the release of the new Chrome browser. For the most part, I like it.

@Wynn: When I imported my bookmarks from Chrome, I went into Settings/Bookmarks and selected Show Bookmark Bar, and then selected Imported-Chrome. There's now a Chrome Bookmarks folder displayed on the Bookmarks Bar.

@Fred: Go to Settings/Search and select your preferred Search engine, then select Set as Default Search. (I made mine Startpage.)

The one thing that bothers me is the delay between entering a URL (or clicking a link) and when it actually sends the request to display the page. Sometimes it happens immediately, but there's usually a 1 or 2 second delay. I'm also not a fan of the way it shows that a page is loading.

Posted by:

Mike Herlihy
09 Oct 2018

I also have been using Vivaldi since you mentioned it, and recommend it to others. A major improvement in memory usage with only a very few (1 or 2 that I've come across) websites that don't work properly.
Very happy with it!

Posted by:

Mark Mulakush
10 Oct 2018

I use Firefox. I have added a few 'addons' to it to make my life a little easier. Specifically, I use GroupSpeedDial, LastPass, uBlock and video down loader. These enough for me at the moment. Although I have downloaded Vivaldi, created and account and received an email address in there (xxx@vivaldi.com), I do not know how much I will use it. Not only must Vivaldi have these or similar 'addons', but it must be able to import the data seamlessly and thrive. At the moment, this is not the case and I am staying with Firefox. I will use Vivaldi only sparingly.
But I like it so far. It has good speed and the email user interface is very intuitive and friendly. SO question is when can Vivaldi provide tehse type of facilities?

Posted by:

Jim Swan
10 Oct 2018

I have been using the Brave.com browser for some time now, and I like it very well. It was designed from the ground up for security.

Posted by:

Sharon C Scian
10 Oct 2018

I am amazed at the number of adds on your articles. I often see something interesting but am afraid to click on them. If an ad appears on your site have you approved it? Just asking? Give me an answer and I'll buy you a snickers.... ss

Posted by:

10 Oct 2018

Mark, there are tons of addons for Vivaldi because all the Chrome addons work on it. I don't know about GroupSpeedDial (does it work on Chrome?) but LastPass is certainly available.

Posted by:

11 Oct 2018

@Charley; and if all the Chrome addons work on it Play Store games can be installed.

Posted by:

Patrick Shane
20 Oct 2018

Yeah, - but does it have a 'Microphone' for asking your questions, and dictating your emails, etc.?? - (Just asking for a friend who is NOT a keyboard whiz, and finds the'Mic Feature' very convenient!)

Posted by:

21 Oct 2018

All very well, but a browser with no inbuilt language translator is destined to end up being unused by me, so I'll pass.

Posted by:

Skeeter Sanders
27 Oct 2018

Having recently installed the latest version of the Opera browser on my laptop and making it my default browser, I have a question for Jon von Tetzchner, the founder and CEO of Vivaldi -- who also founded Opera:

Why should I, an Opera user, switch to Vivaldi? After all, Opera has a built-in VPN and a built-in password manager that automatically logs you in to your favorite sites. It also has a built-in ad blocker. Does Vivaldi have these features?

This inquiring mind wants to know.

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