Vivaldi launches customisable browser for demanding web users

Former Opera CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner has designed a browser for web users who want to completely personalise their online experience.

Vivaldi with a Speed Dial tab

Vivaldi has a Speed Dial tab for rapid access to websites.

Screenshot: ZDNet

Vivaldi, a new browser designed for 'demanding' web users who like to keep multiple tabs open simultaneously, has officially launched following more than a year of public development.

Developed by Vivaldi Technologies, a company founded by Opera Software co-founder and former CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, the new browser doesn't aim for simplicity in pursuit of mass-market acceptance; instead, it's designed to appeal to hardcore web users.

"We're introducing features and customizations that browsers today don't have. We're making it for you," said von Tetzchner in a blog post on the launch of Vivaldi 1.0.

When browsing the web, it's all too easy to end up with large numbers of open tabs, which makes finding a particular page something of a challenge.

Vivaldi aims to remedy this -- theoretically improving productivity and efficiency -- with Tab Stacks, which allow you to drop tabs on top of each other in order to reduce clutter. The browser also provides Tab Stack tiling, allowing users with large screens to view multiple tabs at the same time -- a feature Vivaldi claims "is like having multiple desktops".

With the browser designed to appeal the most technological users, Vivaldi naturally comes with plenty of personalisation options. These include quick commands to reach a specific tab or bookmark, along with customisable mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts, designed to help users accomplish tasks at "lightning speed".

Ultimately, Vivaldi is built so that users can personalise it however they see fit. According to the company, there are "more than one million different ways to make Vivaldi your perfect browser".

User-driven features

For Vivaldi Technologies, it's important that users feel that their needs are being listened to, and von Tetzchner told ZDNet that users have inspired some of the browser's features.

"We have been working hard on the detail. For our users the detail is very important. We have introduced some new features which have all come because our users have been asking for them and where it makes sense we do it," he said.

Although Vivaldi has only just officially launched, the browser has already amassed millions of downloads during its open testing period. The initial success of the browser has prompted Vivaldi Technologies to expand its team and open an American office.

"We are up to 35 people now who are mainly in Iceland, but we have an office in the US. Demand is very good, but you have to get the right people in place," said von Tetzchner.

The core of Vivaldi is built on open-source Chromium -- the same code that power's Google's Chrome browser. Vivaldi has therefore provided an easy upgrade to allow Google Chrome users to try out its browser.

The shared coding behind the two browsers also means Vivaldi users can deploy Chrome add-ons, although Vivaldi believes the features its browser provides means "hopefully you won't need too many with so many features available out of the box".

Vivaldi 1.0 is available to download for Windows, Mac and Linux now.

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