[BROWSER WARS] Vivaldi 2.0 Takes on Chrome
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 9 Oct 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [BROWSER WARS] Vivaldi 2.0 Takes on Chrome (Posted: 9 Oct 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved