It has been a long time since we saw a new browser. After the launch of Chrome, the browser industry has become stagnant. During the era of IE, until Mozilla or Opera came out with alternatives, nothing much changed in the browser technology and now it feels deja-vu. We only get to see new features and functionalities in the existing browsers. The browsers aim to making the software experience simple. In their quest for simplicity, they have stripped away a bunch of features which they thought that nobody uses. But there are a handful of people who would want a full fledged browser experience. These are the power users who wants to take control of the user experience and customize it to their needs. Ofcouse, the counter argument from browsers like Chrome and Firefox would be that they have still made most of the features available, but as add-ons or plug-ins. But the problem with 3rd party plugin is that most of them are resource hoggers due to immature or bad coding habits.
Until Opera 12, Opera had all the features a power user would love. RSS button, keyboard shortcuts, stacking of Tabs, gestures, etc… But after Opera adopted WebKit. it started to look, feel and function like Chrome. Though that is what most users would want, it is exactly polar to any user who like to take control and decide how he wants his browsing experience to be. So this is where Vivaldi fills in the gap.
Vivaldi is a new web browser that promises to give you the speed and experience of any modern day browser, but at the same time retaining the functionalities of the older browsers. It is available for Widows, Mac and Linux users. The CEO of Vivaldi, Mr Jon Von Tetzchener is the co-founder and former CEO of Opera. His objective is to give back the power user experience to the power users and for that he decided to start from the scratch. Opera was the pioneer of modern day browser experience. Though it had a very little user experience, much of its unique features were adopted by the big sharks like Chrome and Mozilla. Vivaldi aims to do the same thing. It is not targeted to take away a meaty slice of the market share, but to set the standards for a power user browser.
After installation, on the first run, I found nothing different in the Vivaldi browser. It had the same look and feel of any other browser. But on digging deeper, I started discovering new features.
- Tab bar location – The Tab bar location could be changed to top, bottom, left or right. It can also be totally hidden and made navigable only with keyboard shortcuts.
- The address bar location is also customizable.
- There are loads of keyboard shortcuts and every shortcut can be customized.
- Incase you are lost, you can also invoke the Quick commands dialogue with F2 button. This dialogue has a list of commands which you can search from. Also it holds your browsing history, helping you to jump between tabs. It basically helps you execute any shortcut with just the keyboard.
- Power users prefer to use keyboard for most actions. Especially if you are a coder and you are typing out codes with your keyboard, a simple action of reaching for the mouse could be a deterrent in your flow. So Vivaldi has got this neat little feature called the Spatial navigation, which basically puts a highlight on the clickable area in focus and with just the keyboard you can navigate to the links and click them.
- Finally a neat little feature called the Rewind and Forward button. Conventional browsers would have back and forward button and they are just history navigation. But in Vivaldi, there is Rewind and Forward button in addition to the back and forward button. Rewind button takes you to the first page you navigated in a tab. But the forward button is intelligent. It tries to predict the most probable next page in the site and take you to that page. I don’t see why anyone would use it, but it is a fun feature to play around if you are wandering aimlessly in the world wide web.
Vivaldi promises an inbuilt mail client and it is not yet available. The extensions and plug-ins are in works as well. I tried using the Vivaldi as my primary browser, but its incompleteness stopped me from proceeding. Never the less, Vivaldi is a promising application that vows to put back the traditional power user browsing experience back in the main stream. Try out the Vivaldi and let us know your thoughts.