Despite the scores of apps we populate out smartphones with, most of the time of these devices is still spent on the mobile browser. And a bulk of the users end up sticking to the native browsers of their devices — Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS — without thinking if these offer the best user experience and performance for our time. This is where Vivaldi’s mobile browser hopes to make a difference.
The Vivaldi desktop browser was launched in 2015 and the mobile version has taken four years to make an experience. But Vivaldi’s approach is different and the idea is to offer a full-blown experience on mobile and a not watered down version as is the norm these days. So Vivaldi’s “fully featured” approach means it will come with Panels, Speed dials, Notes, and Capture.
Vivaldi also claims that since it does not use the Google’s web browser core built into Android, it will not be possible to track your activity on the browser. It’s end-to-end encrypted sync feature also does not share anything with Google, while Vivaldi does not keep any of the data. The company claims that since it “believes in customisation, not personalisation”, it doesn’t build profiles of its users. So for those who are bothered about privacy and security, the Vivaldi browser could end up being a good option on Android phones.
Vivaldi is the brainchild of Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Tatsuki Tomita. If Tetzchner’s name rings a bell, it’s because he was the co-founder and CEO of Opera. We asked him a few questions over email on his latest offering:
Why does the world need one more mobile browser?
Vivaldi is a bit more than your average browser. Most mobile browsers are rather limited and do not have an associated desktop browser or services like Vivaldi does. Vivaldi is recognised as the most advanced browser you can find on your computer and we are bringing that kind of power to the mobile.
With Vivaldi you get more than a browser skin as Vivaldi compiles its own code, instead of using the browser core already on your phone. This gives us more control over how the browser functions. We have also our own associated Sync service, where your synced data is encrypted using a password of your choice, not shared with us.
What’s the one big pain point you are solving?
There is a need for a browser that focuses on the needs of the user only. That is what we do. We listen to requests from users, instead of collecting data on how the browser is being used. This means we see individual needs and we use those when designing and developing the browser.
How does Vivaldi help allay the fears around privacy which seem to be on top of mind for most users?
Vivaldi does not collect user data and our free services do not collect user data either. By choosing Vivaldi you are taking a first step in the direction of more privacy. Your choice of browsers and other services matters. That being said, we always recommend users to be wary of giving up data while browsing. Although we do not collect data, the same cannot be said of all the companies out there.
What would be the unique features for a market like India?
We are providing a real browser for Indian users that spend a lot of time online. Whether you use Vivaldi both on mobile and desktop, or only on mobile, Vivaldi has a lot to offer. Our goal is to make your browsing more fun and effective. Thus you will find that Vivaldi has a very extensive speed dial section, that you can customise at will. We have a powerful bookmarking function as well and the ability to take notes, that can be synced with your other devices.
Vivaldi´s tab handling makes it easy to deal with a lot of tabs, and find back to closed tabs or find tabs from your other devices. Vivaldi also has a handy capture function for taking screenshots of even full pages. We recognise that you may use your mobile as your primary tool for browsing the Internet and thus we have features to match. We hope you enjoy.
What would be a good success metric for you?
This is our first step onto mobile. Many of us worked on Opera, which became a very popular browser in India, and clearly our hope to get a similar reception with Vivaldi.