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August 24, 2016

Vivaldi 1.3: A Browser for Our Friends

Vivaldi Technologies has updated their web browser to introduce custom themes. This adds a new dimension to the browser’s personalization, protection for WebRTC IP leakage to improve privacy, and more mouse gestures.

Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO, Vivaldi Technologies, has introduced their next version of the company’s eponymous web browser, the Vivaldi 1.3. He answered some questions regarding the updated browser.

MTZ: So we are at release 1.3 now and you keep expanding the usability and feature set. It occurred to me with the latest release that you have a very aggressive schedule. Can you share how often we should expect releases? And is there a 2.0 in the works?

JvT: We expect to release every 6 weeks or so. This is in line with the Chromium updates and as we are based on Chromium we find it natural to follow their schedule when it comes to releases. We have, however, our own schedule when it comes to features, but it is an aggressive one as well. We aim to have great improvements in every release, while we continue to work on the major stuff. Vivaldi 2.0 is in the works and will include major stuff like mail.

MTZ: It also occurred to me that the customization and flexibility you provide in the browser makes you a very unique implementation. How do you see Vivaldi in relation to native systems and desktop implementations like Chromebooks? Do you have an expectation that Vivaldi is the primary method of computing? Should we expect more desktop like features?

JvT: In reality we spend most of our time in front of the browser, so it is only natural to make that browser as powerful as it can be. Thus we are working on mail, which is something most people use anyway, and it lends itself well to browser integration.

We will continue to add features to the browser as it expands what it is capable of. This includes improvements on current features as well as thinking out of the box as to what a browser should be. This means that there will be less and less reasons to use native applications, but that has been the trend anyway.

We could easily turn Vivaldi into a ChromiumOS kind of build and be the front end to the computer. Time will tell whether this is something we will offer, but right now the focus is really on building a great browser for your desktop.

MTZ: You make a point that Vivaldi is built for the web using web tools, is there an advantage to other developers in the future of using Vivaldi? Should we expect an SDK?

JvT: What we are seeing already is people digging into the code and making changes. It is relatively easy and there are many threads on Vivaldi.net about users doing this. However, this is not officially supported so there is always a risk that an update will overwrite changes. Over time we will provide easier ways to change the UI code without updates overwriting the changes.

MTZ: You also make the point that Vivaldi is for "you" but your history is enabling community.  Is there a plan for an US aspect of Vivaldi?

JvT: Vivaldi is all about You. What we mean by this is that every voice is heard. We are more likely to say yes than no to any request, although clearly with a lot of requests we cannot do them all at the same time.

A lot of the requests are about minor changes or options, while others require a lot of work. We aim to do both and innovate as well, as we know that is expected from us. We try our best to provide users what they ask for and what we believe they would like to see. We take feedback all the way from our community and our users. So we are all about You!

MTZ: Any additional information you’d like to share?

JvT: Vivaldi is a unique project that gives the focus on the user, on you. The old mantra that the customer is always right may be seen as part of that, but given that we consider our users our friends it goes further than that. It is hard to say no to a request from a friend and we aim to keep our friends safe.

Overall the focus in the industry is to simplify, and one can understand that when seeing how complex software used to be, but we believe it should be possible to make simple to use software while retaining a wealth of functionality. It is just a lot harder, but it is a challenge we take gladly and we see that our users love it.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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