You might not have realised it, but the browser is most the used software on your computer. But as our online actions become more resource and data intensive, most of the browsers are struggling to rise up to the expectations of the users. This is exactly the opportunity Vivaldi, the Oslo-based browser company wants to exploit.
“It is about a different approach to browsers, and software. We go from one extreme to the other… from the feature rich software of the past to removing all functionality to make it easy. The problem with that is that you make certain things less efficient. Our goal is to marry the two,” explains CEO Jon von Tetzchner, highlighting how Vivaldi will offer the feature richness of the old applications with the easier views of the new one. “I think we can do that.” Tetzchner should know as he was co-founder and former CEO of Opera, still one of the world’s most popular browsers.
Vivaldi browser has been available for users for close to half a year, but today the company has launched its latest version with some unique features. It has become the first browser to allow you to control your room lights powered by Philips Hue, thus opening up a new front in the IoT space.
Tetzchner calls is a first step, but dreams of a scenario where users get notified for a new email or web notification through the lighting in the room. That is the kind of customisation and flexibility he wants to offer. “Given the time you spend with it, you would like that flexibility. Some users are willing to learn a trick or two just to speed up their day.”
Vivaldi enjoys a very close loop with its users and Tetzchner says everything they do is based on user feedback. “Not by monitoring what they do, but by listening to what they have to say.” India is already among the top countries for Vivaldi and Tetzchner thinks there will be a lot of interest in the browser here.
“There are a lot of users who use other browsers and find them going in the direction of simplification. But difficult things are difficult to do and more advanced stuff become more cumbersome on these browsers.” Vivaldi has always wanted to launch a mobile browser, but realised sometime back that it would take longer with the specs they wanted. “We believe it will be out sometime late next year. But obviously mobile is a big part of what we are doing and our primary focus is Android — because it is the primary platform and also because Apple makes it difficult for us,” adds Tetzchner.
Despite being an advanced browser, Vivaldi has tried its best to keep the resource requirements at a minimum, one of the main issues with other popular browsers. It is also reducing the data requirement for updates by pushing only changes from release to release and not the entire binary, thus reducing the size of the download.
Tetzchner is also working on an email client, but is only willing to say it will be released “when it is ready”. But it is clearly something he hopes will be able to change the way people use their mails, especially those who get lot of mails every day. “With Vivaldi you will spend less time organising them. Vivaldi will do that for you and save you a lot of time.”