Famed favorite alternative browser Vivaldi has finally made strides towards expanding its consumer base by releasing an app to the play store. The company has long presented itself as an alternative to popular mainstream browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome browser. Now, the company is bringing many of the features that make it a fan favorite right to Android devices.
A New Chapter in Its Long History
The Vivaldi browser has quite some history behind it. It was created by former Opera developers who felt the browser wasn’t headed in the right direction, especially after its acquisition by Chinese company Qihoo 360.
Like the Opera browser, it is built on top of Google’s Blink engine (the same one that powers the likes of Chrome and the new Edge) but appeals to users because of the levels of customizability it offers.
One of the most common complaints users have had is the inability to synchronize bookmarks, browsing history and accounts between different devices.
That was almost wholly due to the fact that there was no other device to sync to other than computers, which it natively supports. Now that the long-awaited app has finally been released, it marks a new chapter in the company’s history.
Customizability and Privacy
Vivaldi may not be as popular as the likes of Chrome in the browser world, and there’s barely any under-the-hood differences to set them apart anyway. For that reason, Vivaldi has marketed itself into relative popularity by embracing privacy and customizability as their key concerns.
Google infamously made a change to Chrome that logs users into the browser by default when you log into any Google account. After a lot of backlash from users and developers, as this was seen as a move to facilitate better data collection, they reversed the change.
This was soon followed by another controversy where Google cookies remain on the browser even after all other data is deleted. Again, it was a huge privacy concern and they were forced to reverse it. Vivaldi and many other browsers capitalized on the opportunity to promote their own privacy-focused browser.
In terms of features, Vivaldi comes with both the basic features you’d expect from a browser, including bookmarks, speed dials and a highly-visible address bar. These are all shared with the desktop version of the same.
It also introduced some new features such as advanced rav management and a screenshot feature. The latter option is much like Firefox’s own native feature (despite the fact that it hasn’t been ported to the mobile app just yet). It’s unique because it allows you to take screenshots of either the whole page or just a section of the screen. No more cropping memes stolen from Twitter.
The only noticeable feature missing from the Vivaldi browser is advanced tracking protection. For a browser that promotes itself for not making money by selling data or following you around the internet, it falls behind Firefox and Edge, both of which block trackers by default.