It seems like Opera employees never leave Opera. In my travels to Oslo I’ve met a fair share of people who’ve left the company only to work on the technical bits of web rendering, or a mobile browser that provides better feeds, for instance.
That’s just observation bias. But while most of us look straight through Chrome into the fun part of the web, it must be hard to shake the idea that you can change the architecture instead of just rearrange the furniture. Kippt, the retired Finnish bookmarking platform that went through Ycombinator, plugged into the web through a browser extension. If the founders were Norwegian, it would have been a new web browser startup with smarter bookmarking enabled.
I bring this up with the development launch of Vivaldi, the new web browser founded by Opera founder and ex-CEO Jon von Tetzchner. The messaging for this tech preview targeted at power users that prefer features like a smart bookmark manager, keyboard shortcuts, tab stacking, and the ability to start multiple session windows. It’s basically classic Opera before von Tetzchner left, but not so early that it has ads.
But Vivaldi is more than just a throwback – the UI looks flat and cool, like picking up your friend’s Windows phone and realizing the blocky and bright Metro UI is really fresh compared to iOS or Android. What’s missing from the Windows phone is any selection of apps, so it will be interesting to see as we test out Vivaldi if it feels like it’s missing the extensions of Chrome and Firefox.
Browsing around in Vivaldi it feels good to be in a different browser, just to change up your web browsing habits and see if it can surprise you. With a team from US, Iceland, Norway, Finland and The Czech Republic it’s local, it’s familiar, and worth a download.