Google Chrome might have a vice-like grip on the internet browser space, but that hasn’t prevented Jon von Tetzchner, who co-founded and led Opera Software, to work on a new browser for “power users”.
Norway-based Vivaldi launched its final version of April 6 after almost a year in Beta, raking in “million of downloads”. Here are excerpts from an email interview with Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner on the new browser and how it tries to be different.
Why a browser? What is the problem Vivaldi solves?
All the mainstream browsers today target the same user group. They are all trying to be as easy to use as possible, which sounds great until you try to do something a bit more advanced. Vivaldi is different. Instead of removing features, we add them. Instead of removing options, we add them as well. We understand that people have different requirements and our goal is to satisfy those requirements. Each and every user deserves our attention.
What will be Vivaldi’s USP?
Individual design. When you download Vivaldi you will quickly notice that it is different. Itis more colorful than other browsers. It has a fresh design. But after you spend some time with Vivaldi, you discover the wealth of features on offer out of the box. You find that feature or that option that makes your browsing a lot more fun. You feel that Vivaldi is made for you and it is.
So, let’s be a bit more specific. These are some of the features we have included that set us apart from other browsers:
1. Tab stacks. If you have a lot of tabs, the tab bar can get crowded. By using tab stacks you can have more tabs, and still keep a great overview over your tabs.
2. Tab undelete. If you happen to close a tab or window by mistake, do not worry. Undelete is there for you. Just use the trash can in the tab bar.
3. Tab stack tiling. Given that you have tab stacks, would it not be cool to be able to tile the tabs in the stack? You can do that! Great for huge screens with high resolutions. Kind of like having multiple desktops.
4. Tab bar placement. Place your tabs on the left, right, top or bottom. Or just remove the tab bar and only see the tabs when changing tabs through keyboard shortcuts.
5. Tab bar options. There is a lot of them. Decide where tabs are opened, where to go when you close tabs. Plenty more to look at here.
So far this is all about tabs. But there is a lot more to play with…
6. Speed dials provide fast and easy access to your favorite sites. You can have groups of speed dials and folders as well.
7. Speed dials are a view into your bookmarks, but you can also use the bookmark manager, the bookmark panel and the bookmark bar. You decide how you access your favorite sites and how you organise them.
Moving onto panels…
8. So we start off with the bookmarks panel, the notes panel and the download panel.
9. The notes panel is a great way to save those quotes you find on the Internet. Select the quote and add it as a note. This saves the text and a link to the text. Add a screenshot as well, just in case the page changes.
10. Add web panels. Those useful sites that you use all the time can be there in a panel. When fetching the page we identify as a mobile browser, which most of the time leads to a page that adapts to the width of the panel.
But there is more…
11. On a slow network or site? Turn off images with that easy to access button at the bottom of the screen.
12. Small print? Zoom is equally accessible and can be tailored to either work on sites or pr tab.
13. Want to have some fun? Try page actions and see the page change to something totally different!
14. Open up that settings window and look for more options. There is a lot more there to play with, including mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, quick commands and a lot more.
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So the list is long. When you ask different people what they like the most, you get different answers, because we all have our favourites.
Are you thinking mass? How will you manage to take on the likes of Chrome?
We believe we have the best browser for most all users, but we also realise that most people are not looking for a new browser. Advanced users will try out Vivaldi and many will like it. They may just introduce their friends to Vivaldi, which gets us more users.
Are you seeing a scenario where people are using different browsers on the same device?
Yes. Many people like having many browsers. Our goal, however, is to provide the best browser for those that care.
What is your mobile strategy?
We do aim to provide a mobile browser, but our current focus is on the desktop.
How important is India in the scheme of things? Why?
India is very important to us. Opera always had a lot of users in India, and we are very thankful for their support. We hope many will try Vivaldi as well and like it.