THE DEVELOPER behind Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, has released the first version of the Vivaldi web browser.
Built for "power users", Vivaldi has been developed from the ground up, notwithstanding the use of the Blink rendering engine, and is intended to be more resource efficient than rivals, particularly Google Chrome. However, the browser can run extensions built for Chrome.
Von Tetzchner claimed that rival browsers, including Chrome and Microsoft's new Edge browser, have been simplified and stripped of user-controlled features and functions. Vivaldi, in contrast, is intended to be more customisable and less of a drain on resources.
Features include 'tab stacks', the ability to group browser tabs together, and web panels, enabling some websites (such as Twitter, for example) to be permanently open in the browser while browsing other sites. Users can also save sessions for retrieval later.
"Vivaldi 1.0 adapts to you, not the other way around. We made Vivaldi the most customisable browser in existence, based on feedback provided by millions of users. In fact, there are more than one million different ways to make Vivaldi your perfect browser," said Tetzchner.
Future releases will integrate an email client, a process von Tetzchner insisted "isn't trivial", and the ability to synchronise bookmarks and settings extensions, although that is on the roadmap.
What won't make it into Vivaldi, said von Tetzchner, is an ad blocker, as Vivaldi is ultimately funded by advertising generated via search engines every time someone uses the integrated search feature.
Von Tetzchner co-founded Opera Software in 1994 when the web browser he was working on for Telenor, Norway's incumbent national telecoms company, was spun-out. The first official release of the browser came almost 21 years ago to the day in April 1995.
Opera gained a reputation for pioneering new browser features that were later copied by rivals. Features included tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, in-private browsing and the speed dial - using the blank page to enable people to bookmark web pages.
The Windows desktop web browser rarely commanded more than a five per cent global market share, but it was popular in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and other parts of the world requiring less resource-intensive browsers with more privacy features.
Opera Mini and Opera Mobile also proved popular as the mobile market shifted from feature phones to smartphones. Opera claims some 350 million users worldwide, more than 290 million of them using mobile browsers. µ
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