Remember when the web Were browsers useful tools? Remember when you could follow the sites you like, check your email, and see your calendar, all without leaving your browser? Or should I say, remember when you can do all that without Big tech companies are feeding your personal data into a yawn of surveillance capitalism?
I remember those days because I still live in them, thanks to a web browser you may not have heard of: Vivaldi.
This week, the team behind the Vivaldi web browser released version 4.0, which seems like a good time for me to tell you you need to give it a try. Calling Neil StevensonVivaldi outperforms all other web browsers “in much the same way that the noon sun does stars… Not only are they bigger and brighter; they simply make everything else fade away.”
Customization is the key
Stevenson was actually Talking about the Emacs text editor, whose never-ending repetition makes him the programmer The Holy Grail of Text Editors. But I think the metaphor also applies to Vivaldi, compared to other web browsers. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Vivaldi he is Emacs for web browsers.
Vivaldi’s CEO, Jon von Teichner, was also the co-founder of operaOne of the oldest web browsers with features like pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing. The level of customization and power user features that distinguish Opera today are also present in Vivaldi, along with a lot more.
At first glance, Vivaldi looks like a slightly more colorful version of your average web browser—the webpage colors mirror Vivaldi’s notable feature that Apple has shamelessly copied in Safari. You won’t discover its true power until you dig into Vivaldi’s settings: the ability to customize your browsing experience exactly the way you want it.
Like Emacs, Vivaldi’s setup and experience may be different, and that’s the point. Vivaldi’s motto is “a web browser for our friends”. By “our friends” means Vivaldi People like you and me– Assuming you’re someone on the web doing work and keeping in touch with your friends, rather than consuming the whims and algorithms of Big Tech.
For example, I love keyboard shortcuts and have never used the mouse gesture in my life. Vivaldi supports both. I take advantage of customizable keyboard shortcuts and ignore mouse gestures, and everyone wins. Vivaldi 4.0 acknowledges this with a new dialog that offers some feature presets: Essentials, Classic, or my favorite Fully Loaded.