How this Opera co-founder is building a browser to replace all the browsers out there


Jon von Tetzchner says he loved every minute of his time at Opera, the firm he had co-founded in 1995 and led as CEO until 2010.

However, from 2003 and until the time he quit the company as CEO in 2010, he had issues with investors that did not believe in the company and sought an exit, not only for themselves, but the company.

“After dealing with this for 7 years, I got tired and hoped that the company would get breathing space with a new CEO,” Tetzchner told TechMoran. “Sadly, that was not the case and the core Opera browser has now been sold to a Chinese consortium. It is a sad end to a great company.”

In April last year,  Tetzchner launched Vivaldi and though many people are yet to use it, he is confident,  that users across the world and in Africa will take to Vivaldi as they did with Opera. Tetzchner says most of the browsers today try to be as easy to use as possible for the “average user”. This means that any functionality that is not being used widely gets axed. However, in his own honest opinion, there are really no “average users”.

“We are all unique and different and we all have different needs. Vivaldi aims to adapt to your needs,” he told TechMoran.

When a user downloads Vivaldi, they’ll notice a difference. Vivaldi has a fresh look and is more colorful and it changes color as one browses, to match the sites they visit.

“We have spent a lot of time adding options and different ways to use functions in the browser to the extent that for most users you can use the browser in a way that is right for you. If something is missing, let us know and we will add it,” he said. “We take every single user seriously and every single release of Vivaldi adds something special.

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The special feature in Vivaldi 1.7is the capture functionality which allows a user to capture an image of parts or whole of the browser or the active page, including even parts that are not visible.

Vivaldi 1.8 which is set to be released shortly has the new History function as the main feature. Vivaldi’s take on History is giving you a lot more details on your browsing history. Vivaldi is also working on a mobile version of the browser with mail capabilities and much more features to provide the most advanced browser available in the market.

There has been some interest in pre-installing Vivaldi on devices but Vivaldi’s focus at the moment is distribution through its page.

To give users a deep dive on Vivaldi, the browser delivers extensive tab handling, including placement of tabs (left, right, top, bottom, hidden), tab undelete, tab stacking (to clean up the tab bar) and tab stack tiling, which gives a user multiple desktops inside the browser, which is stored and restored on next restart.

Vivaldi also allows extensive bookmarks implementation, which includes speed dials, speed dial groups, speed dial folders, bookmarks manager, bookmarks panel and a bookmarks bar. A user decides which of these they want to use, or all of them. They are all the same data, but  with different representations of the data.

Vivaldi’s Keyboard shortcuts include single key keyboard shortcuts allowing most functions to be done from the keyboard. A user can change the keyboard shortcuts to fit their need. A user can perform a lot of functions through mouse gestures and they can make their own as well. Users can take notes or take a screen shot and users can add web panels, such as bookmarks, notes, downloads, etc., but a user can also add their own web panels. Great for services you want to have available at all times, such as news feeds, chat services or any documents you use a lot.

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Other features include fast forward and rewind which make it easier to move faster through the web. Fast forward suggests the natural next page such as the next search page, and rewind takes you back to the first page on a server and back from there. Vivaldi also provides easy access to zoom, image control and page actions, to change how a page is displayed or show its structure. It also has built-in screenshot options and various custom theme options that can be scheduled according to your preferences.

“Generally, our approach is to adapt to our users,” Tetzchner says. “If our users request a feature or an option, we implement it, as a general rule. We believe that every user matters and thus we strive to adapt to every user.”

Tetzchner  says Vivaldi is a very personal browser. It is made for you and users notice this once they give it enough time.

On security, Tetzchner  says Vivaldi does not track its users.

“We have no need to do that and we do not want to do that. Our goal is to build a great browser and redefine what a browser can be. We will continue to expand what you can expect to get in a browser. This is just the beginning!,” he says.

Vivaldi follows up on the vision of Opera, that of adapting to the users and every user´s right to get a great Internet experience. But it’s not an Opera clone.

Tetzchner says Vivaldi has no problem with Edge. It is great that there is a choice in browsers and Edge is a clear improvement on Internet Explorer, the last Microsoft browser. What he does not like is that Microsoft changes the default browser and overrides user defaults. This often happens during updates of Windows 10. Microsoft should honor the choice the user makes. He hopes that Microsoft will change their ways to respect user choice and nothing else.

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Download Vivaldi and let us know what you think in the comments section.