Too many tabs open? Vivaldi could be the browser for you

Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner unveils a new browser built for power users - the 'geeks' and 'nerds'.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Jon von Tetzchner was one of the founders of Opera Software, makers of the Opera browser.

He left the company in 2011 and has now unveiled a new browser, tunefully dubbed Vivaldi.

The browser is aimed at power web users, those with huge numbers of tabs to manage, for example.

At first sight it appears to be a nice, colourful addition to the browser world but given we already have IE, Firefox, Chromium, Safari, and many more, who needs another browser?

ZDNet spoke to von Tetzchner to find out more.

Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner

ZDNet: Where and when was Vivaldi built?

Jon von Tetzchner: The main company is Norwegian and then the service part is in Iceland and then we are in the US. But then much of it is in the rest of the world.

We started when a lot of us were actually working at Opera. We were looking at what was happening. After I quit they stopped using the core of the browser. They made a different choice of building a browser and they chose a more limited browser than what Opera used to be.

We could sense that there were a lot of people who were not really happy about that and that included ourselves. Personally, I have always used Opera. Opera was a browser that we built together and I would never use anything else.

But when Opera threw away everything that we did, then there was the question, 'What do we do now? Which browser does have the kind of capabilities that we want? What browser can you find that has a built-in mail client? What browser can you find that has tab-stacking, keyboard short-cuts?' and so on.

There was a realisation that most browsers out there cater for the user that does not have a lot of demand. Yes, you can extend them but really they cater for the lowest common denominator. They are for users who want to go in and check the news and so on. They are all focusing on being simple.

But a lot of people, I think, want to do more with their browsers and I think those are the people who have been left by the wayside. So our thinking was, 'Let's build a browser for those people - for the people who want to work efficiently on the internet, want to be working with multiple tasks, who want a lot of bookmarks.'

We thought, 'Let's build one for people who want a lot of shortcuts and better ways of accessing things.'

I am sure people will find other things but that is really what it is aimed at - it's going for the geeks.

So you are going for the more sophisticated user?

You can say sophisticated but we don't mind using words like 'geeks' or 'nerds'. We are technical guys and we are building browsers for ourselves and our friends.

What's the feedback been like so far on this?

It has been very positive. People like what it is that we are trying to do. All the other browsers [look and feel the same] so there is a need for something else. We have a command set for jumping backwards and forwards, between tabs without having to use more than one key.

Not all cars are the same and everyone wants something a little different - and we want to build browsers in the same way. So the aim is that you can get it to work the way you like to work - to get it to be exactly what you want.

What kind of features are we talking about?

Well, one thing is working with Tabs and Sessions. So you can start the browser with multiple tasks open. You can start with multiple tabs so you can have tab groups which [in turn] allow you to deal with a lot more tab groups.

So they are limitless?

Well, we are building our code on top of Chromium so I am sure you will run out of space at some stage but you can have a fair amount.

Part of it also is that we added something called Quick Command. So, say you have written a lot of tabs and you have lost one, then you can write the text for the tab and find it.

So what's next?

Well, the first technical preview is going out [on 27 January] and then there will be further previews. We will be adding features and innovating.

The community is important to us. We have had 20 volunteers who have been giving out the product over the last few months - the 'Sopranos' as we call them. We will be going from there and testing, collecting feedback, changing things, and updating.

Read more:

Opera appoints new chief executive

Did the browser wars finally end in 2014?

Opera expands ad business in Africa with AdVine acquisition

Editorial standards