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There’s no shortage of web browsers tempting those who want a new browsing experience. Google’s Chrome browser leads the pack, followed by Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and many, many more.

Chances are you’ve heard of these, and maybe tried them all. Now, though, there’s a new browser on the scene, trying to push through the crowd to get into the cool group. It’s called Vivaldi, and its roots stem from Opera, the plucky underdog of the web browsing world which, if you ask many long-time users, went off the rails. The Vivaldi web browser was born to calm those disgruntled Opera natives. It accomplishes much more than that.

What exactly is a Vivaldi?

The Opera browser was once based on Presto, a proprietary browser and layout engine developed by Opera Software. In February of 2013, however, the company decided to jump on the Chromium bandwagon and completely re-write its browserfrom scratch to use an engine called “Blink,” introduced to the Chromium project in April of 2013.

Released as Opera 15 in May of 2013, the overhaul angered many users given a number of distinct features were dropped. By then, Opera Software co-founder and former CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner had already left the company, and moved on to form Vivaldi Technologies at the end of 2013. He set out to pick up where Opera 14 ended, providing features power users want in an entirely new browser.

vivaldi web browser best youve never tried main

Drawing inspiration from Italian Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Tetzchner and his team created Vivaldi on the open-source Chromium browser engine, which powers Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Opera, and similar browsers outside the Mozilla and Microsoft fold.

 

That means it uses the Blink layout engine to “compose” web pages in the browser window, just like the latest release of Opera. Unlike Opera, though, Vivaldi was built to support a broad range of features that today’s streamlined, purpose-built browsers have ditched.

Power users need apply

Google Chrome is often preferred by people who consider themselves power users, yet most of what makes it powerful isn’t part of the browser. There’s no default option to make the interface your own, save for installing themes that can be downloaded through the Chrome Store. There’s no way to natively take in-browser notes. It has no native mouse gesture-based commands. There’s no native Reader View – and so on. Power users instead gain features through extensions, which do the job, but can slow and clutter the browser as they’re piled on, as well as pose a security risk.

Vivaldi offers these features without using extensions by default. It aims to make the most out of your internet use by providing tools to make the experience easier, more manageable, and intelligent. That comes with a price — a slight reduction in size of the main browser window. You might consider that an acceptable trade, though, if you’re interested in using the web to do more than order a pair of socks from Amazon.

Vivaldi aims to make the most out of your internet use by providing tools to make the experience easier, more manageable, and intelligent.

Vivaldi’s default layout includes a slim Panel residing to the left providing four specific tools — Bookmarks, Downloads, Notes, and History – that you can hide if not used. Along the bottom is the thin Status Bar for taking screenshots, tiling/stacking pages, managing images, and adjusting the zoom. In the top-left corner, a slick Vivaldi logo hides all the menus, such as File, View, and Tools. These options, which tend to be obscured into menus in other browsers, take up space here.

That said, Vivaldi is visually clean despite its visible Panel and Status Bar. That’s where the Vivaldi name really takes off, as you become the composer of the interface. Many elements can be re-arranged in the “Settings” window, such as positioning all tabs in a vertical tower, and moving the address bar to the bottom.

Your composition doesn’t stop there. With Vivaldi, you can “compose” your own themes. This includes changing the colors of the background, foreground, highlights, and accents. You can also toggle on the “adaptive” theme, which will change the browser’s colors to match the current website. In a sense, Vivaldi can become your own visual masterpiece.

The Settings panel reveals its real depth

Outside the visual composition, Vivaldi’s “Settings” window digs deep into the power user’s toolbox. You’ll find a tool for customizing keyboard shortcuts spanning handy Window, View, Tab, and Page commands. You’ll also find a tool to compose mouse gestures that you define based on set commands. For instance, you can assign a specific motion to open a new tab, reload a page, or rewind the history. By default, gestures will only execute if you are pressing the right mouse button during the process. Using the ALT key as an alternative is ideal when using a laptop’s trackpad.

Vivaldi’s heavy “power user” aspect isn’t just locked to the “Settings” window. Hit the F2 key, and you can type anything into the Quick Command text field to perform a search using the browser’s default search engine. This window also provides a long list of commands that can be executed in the text field, such as accessing the browser’s built-in Task Manager, importing bookmarks from another installed browser, and more.

 

Another notable power user feature resides in the History section of the browser’s Start Page. Not only will you see all the places you’ve visited via links, but three graphs showing your browsing habits. They display your page views, page transition percentages, and a list of the top domains visited in an easily-read fashion.

It’s ideal for students, office workers, and designers

One of Vivaldi’s most unique extras is the Notes feature, found on the Panel. Vivaldi lets you type notes within a small window embedded in the expanded Panel while you browse the internet. These notes can include attached files stored locally on your PC, full screenshots, links, and a specific capture of a selected area.

Another nifty, time-saving tool is Vivaldi’s Web Panel feature. Web Panels aren’t exactly bookmarks, but are instead meant for websites that serve as tools, such as Wikipedia, online dictionaries, RSS feeds, and whatnot. Web Panels open within the Panel, and do not include address bars.

Finally, we must point out Vivaldi’s nifty tab stacking and tiling features. We crammed seven tabs into our stack, and accessed each one by hovering the cursor over the stack’s main tab, which rendered a thumbnail view of all stacked windows. This is good for grouping multiple pages together under a single tab, rather than having eight or more tabs strung along the top.

Meanwhile, the tiling feature essentially stuffs up to four websites into a single window. The Page Tiling button resides on the Status Bar, which provides options to Tile Vertically, Tile Horizontally, or Tile to Grid. In this case, you can just view up to four pages simultaneously rather than switch between tabs, or dig out a tab in a stack.

You should give Vivaldi a try

We could go on about the Vivaldi browser, but we’ve outlined the basics. Vivaldi is a web surfer’s complete toolbox, packed with gadgets you probably didn’t even know you needed. It’s a browser that you can move into, and make your own.

Give Vivaldi a shot. It’s completely free, so the only expense is the time you spend giving it a test drive.

Source: This article was published digitaltrends.com By Kevin Parrish

Categorized in Search Engine

When did you last try a new browser?

THE BEST WEB BROWSERS

1. Google Chrome

2. Opera

3. Microsoft Edge

4. Mozilla Firefox

5. Vivaldi

Read on for our detailed analysis of each browser

Most of us tend to choose a web browser and stick with it for years. It can be hard to break away from your comfort zone – especially when you've become used to its quirks – but trying a different browser can greatly improve your experience on the web.

Whether it's enhanced security, improved speed, or greater flexibility through customizable options and plugins, the right browser can have a huge effect on your online life. Here we've put the biggest browsers through their paces (plus one that you might not be familiar with) to identify the one that does the best job of ticking all those boxes, but if you have a particular concern then read on to see if there's an alternative that might be better suited to your needs.

 

1. Google Chrome

With Chrome, Google has built an extendable, efficient browser that deserves its place at the top of the browser rankings. According to w3schools' browser trend analysis its user base is only rising, even as Microsoft Edge's install numbers are presumably growing. Why? Well, it's cross-platform, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented to take up the minimum of screen space, and just about the nicest browser there is to use.

Its wide range of easily obtained and installed extensions mean you can really make it your own, and there's support for parental controls and a huge range of tweaks and settings to ensure maximum efficiency.

But there are downsides, and potentially big ones. It's among the heaviest browsers in terms of resource use, so it's not brilliant on machines with limited RAM, and its performance doesn't quite match up to others in benchmarking terms. And with Google's tentacles running through it, you might be uncomfortable with the ways in which your browsing data may be used.

Download here: Google Chrome

2. Opera

An underrated browser, Opera's killer feature is a superb Turbo mode for slow connections

It's sad that Opera makes up only around 1% of the browser market, because it really is a quality browser. It launches fast, the UI is brilliantly clean, and it does everything its rivals can do with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure.

 

The key reason we'd at least recommend having Opera installed alongside your main browser is its Opera Turbo feature. This compresses your web traffic, routing it through Opera's servers, which makes a huge difference to browsing speed if you're stuck on rural dial-up or your broadband connection is having a moment.

It reduces the amount of data transferred too, handy if you're using a mobile connection, and this re-routing also dodges any content restrictions your ISP might place on your browsing, which can be mighty handy. Opera automatically ducks out of the way if you're using secure sites like banks so your traffic is free and clear of any potential privacy violation.

There's also an integrated ad-blocker - which can be switched off if you're morally inclined in that direction - and a battery-saving mode which promises to keep your laptop going for longer.

Download here: Opera

3. Microsoft Edge

Edge - Microsoft's new, user-friendly browser - offers full integration with Windows 10

The default 'browsing experience' on Windows 10, Edge is an odd one. Quite why Microsoft needs to be running a pair of browser products in tandem is beyond us. The company's reason, it seems, is that Edge represents the more user-friendly end of Redmond's offering while Internet Explorer scales a little better for enterprise.

 

Integration with Windows 10's core gimmicks seems to be Edge's main strong point. It happily runs as a modern-skinned app on Windows 10's tablet mode, and works with Cortana. It's also highly streamlined for the current web age, doing away with insecure protocols like ActiveX and forcing you into Internet Explorer if you want to use them. We're more used to browsers failing to render newer pages than we are to being told off for visiting older corners of the web.

Curmudgeonly grumbles aside, actually using Edge is a perfectly pleasant experience. It's super-quick, hammers through benchmarks, its integrated reading mode makes complex sites more palatable, and by sandboxing it away from the rest of the operating system Microsoft has ensured that Edge won't suffer the security breaches of its older brother.

Download here: Microsoft Edge

4. Mozilla Firefox

A divisive choice these days - Firefox is very flexible, but can feel sluggish with lots of plugins installed

Once the leader in overall popularity in the browser war, Firefox is now now a slightly sad third place. It's not clear why; while it lags behind its main competitors in terms of design, keeping the search and URL boxes separate and leaving buttons on display where others have removed them, it's regularly updated on a six-week schedule and has a raft of extensions available.

 

Firefox tends to hit the middle-to-bottom end of benchmark tests, however, and we did find it a little sluggish to a barely noticeable extent. Recent additions like built-in support for Pocket and Hello aren't going to be to everyone's taste, but some will love them. And that about sums up the Firefox of today; incredibly divisive, despite being a solid browser with a quality rendering engine.

If you're looking for an alternative take on the same structure, Waterfox may fit the bill. It's built on Firefox code, removes many of the restrictions and integrations of the main release, and purports to be one of the fastest browsers around.

Download here: Mozilla Firefox

5. Vivaldi

Build your own ideal browser with Vivaldi's unique docking and tab-stacking features

Here's something a bit different. We all spend probably far too much time sitting in front of our web browsers, and up-and-comer Vivaldi wants to make that as pleasant and personal an experience as possible. Itself build out of web technologies like Javascript and node.js, Vivaldi can adapt its colour scheme to the sites you're using, and indeed the structure of its interface is entirely up to you.

There's a built-in note-taking system, you can dock websites as side panels while using the main window to do your main browsing, and we love its innovative tab stacking tech, which allows you to group up tabs and move them around to avoid the crowding that so often plagues other browsers.

It's not the fastest and it's not the most fully featured, lacking any official support for extensions, but Vivaldi is relatively new and we don't doubt it'll receive further expansion as time goes on. It's a refreshing and creative take on web browsing, and one to watch in the next couple of years.

Download here: Vivaldi

6. Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is fast and efficient, but less expandable than Firefox and Chrome

Microsoft Internet Explorer has seen some ups and downs in its long tenure, from dominating the browser charts to languishing behind its main two competitors. This is partly an issue of choice - particularly the browser choice that Microsoft was forced to give customers after a court ruling - and partially because older versions fell behind the rendering and compatibility curve.

There are no such issues with Internet Explorer 11. It's clean, powerful, highly compatible, and it demands less of your RAM and CPU than equivalent pages would on Chrome or Firefox. Plus it one-ups both of them on WebKit's Sunspider benchmark.

 

That's not to say this browser is perfect. Google's V8 benchmark sees it struggling, and IE isn't quite as able to handle add-ons and extensions as many of its competitors. So while there's no reason to avoid IE like there might once have been, if you're looking for a more customised browsing experience you're out of luck.

Download here: Microsoft Internet Explorer

7. Tor Browser

Not just a browser – Tor offers a whole package of browsing tools with security at its heart

Tor Browser is, perhaps unjustly, most regularly associated with the seedy underworld of the dark web. While it's true that you can use this web browser to access otherwise unlisted sites, Tor's privacy aspects - where your traffic is routed through random nodes the world over, making it very hard to track - are its real asset.

Tor Browser is really a package of tools; Tor itself, a heavily modified version of the Firefox extended support release, and a number of other privacy packages that combine to make it the most secure browsing experience you're likely to find. Nothing is tracked, nothing is stored, and you can forget about bookmarks and cookies.

You'll need to alter your browsing habits to ensure that you don't perform actions online that reveal your identity - Tor Browser is just a tool, after all - but for a secondary browser useful for those private moments it's a great choice. Run it from a USB stick and nobody need even know you have it at all.

Download here: Tor Browser

Source: techradar.com

Categorized in Online Research

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