Vivaldi 2.10 Improves Site Compatibility, Themes

Posted on December 23, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Web browsers with 18 Comments

Vivaldi is another great web browser that should be part of the conversation about the move away from Google Chrome. Like Brave, the new Microsoft Edge, Opera, and other alternatives, it is built on the open-source Chromium project, but offers improved privacy and other advantages, key among its extensive customization capabilities.

And now, it’s getting a bit better.

“Vivaldi 2.10 [is] our last desktop update of the decade,” Vivaldi’s Jon von Tetzchner explains in the announcement. “Ending on a high note, we address a very significant issue that will provide you with the best website compatibility while browsing. The new version also gives you an option to match and even schedule your browser themes to be in sync with your device’s operating system. In addition, there have been overall improvements across the board.”

The compatibility issue is perhaps the most interesting: Even though it is based on Chromium, Vivaldi has experienced compatibility issues or even blocking when it reveals its true name to certain websites. In fact, Vivaldi not-so-vaguely claims that Google, which makes Chromium and Chrome, is one of the companies blocking it.

“Vivaldi is often blocked by competitors, rivals and tech companies in positions of power,” von Tetzchner notes. “Blocking browsers has no technical merit in 2019, nor has it ever had.” An accompanying video makes it even clearer that Google is engaging in shenanigans.

To counter this illegal behavior, Vivaldi will no longer identify itself as Vivaldi to websites. Instead, Vivaldi will now appear much like Chrome does, eliminating fake compatibility issues. (This is a problem for the new Microsoft Edge, by the way, and I’m curious to see whether Microsoft ever addresses it.)

In addition to this change, Vivaldi is also improving how the browser can schedule its themes: Now, in addition to following its own schedule for theme switching, Vivaldi can simply change themes as your OS switches between its own Light and Dark themes. (This new option is available at Settings > Themes > Scheduled Themes > Use Operating System Theme.)

There are other changes in Vivaldi 2.10, too, including improvements in the Address Bar layout and some keyboard handling tweaks, improvements to the toggle to show or hide hidden extensions, and significant performance improvements to Quick Commands.

You can learn more and download the free Vivaldi web browser here. The Beta version for Android was also updated fairly recently; you can find that on the Google Play Store.

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Vivaldi 2.10 Improves Site Compatibility, Themes”

  1. monosoftware

    The user agent is such an antiquated way of identifying a browser’s capability in 2019. Although I primarily use Firefox, I keep Vivaldi around as my backup browser.

  2. Omen_20

    Update from 2.9 to 2.10 gave me issues. It would fail to launch and the crash log didn't give me much to go on.

    Turned out being a known issue with virus scan software. My work PC has Symantec Endpoint Protection. This help article fixed my issue.

  3. VTScott

    Installed Vivaldi for work and personal. Interested to see if it will stick or whether I'll be back to Opera.

  4. Chris Payne

    "...part of the conversation about the move away from Google Chrome"

    Is Paul recommending a move away from Chrome now?

  5. jdawgnoonan

    Paul - Thanks for this write up. I had not tried Vivaldi for a while, but tried it again and it is now the default browser on both my Windows and Linux systems.

  6. IanYates82

    I watched his test video. Fair points.

    What would have been even more compelling is to open the Developer Tools in Vivaldi (Ctrl+Shift+I or F12 usually) and use the configuration in there to adjust the user agent to match Chrome's (truncating the "Vivaldi/2.10.xxxx" off the end) and then reload the sites whilst still being in Vivaldi. That would prove to those less aware of there being the same underlying engine that the sites indeed are changing their behaviour because the user agent says "Vivaldi" in the string.

    As far as Netflix is concerned... I thought there were some DRM codecs Google embeds in to Chrome but not Chromium. If Vivaldi didn't include these then they'd still have trouble making it work, although I guess they've got this right if they're claiming it's "fixed" (due to user-agent shenanigans) in the new release.

  7. spacein_vader

    Chromium and Mozilla based browsers both have access to the "user agent switcher" add-on/extension which allows you to specify what your browser identifies as. I use this on Firefox for sites that insist on Chrome. So far nothing has broken.

    Presumably that would work on nu-Edge too.

  8. madthinus

    It is time for the userstring to die.

  9. waethorn

    Um....their "business model" needs a reality check.

    They claim they protect your data, but they also get revenue from search engines and preloaded bookmarks. Search engines don't pay browsers to include them - they pay for the data that those browsers provide to them. Vivaldi even says "*EVERY TIME you use them*, we get paid".

    Tell me, in what magical world does a browser company get paid every time a user uses a search service when the browser isn't relaying user data to that service provider?

  10. ezraward

    The link to the YouTube video has a timestamp embedded in the link, so it starts mid-video when clicked.

    As for an actual comment, It's so extremely silly that Google and other sites do this. Now we know that Google doesn't simply target Microsoft. They end up targeting anyone that gets in their path.

    Edit 2:

  11. Stooks

    How does Vivaldi and Brave make money?

    Using a Chromium based browser makes the most since these days from a compatibility perspective. I get NOT wanting to use Chrome and getting away from Google (I only use YouTube) but these smaller companies like Brave and Vivaldi.....will they be around in 3 years?

    The New Edge seems to strike the perfect balance in terms of using Chromium for compatibility, being more privacy focused than Chrome and the backing of a big company. Microsoft makes 98% of its money on actual products they make vs Google that gets 85%+ of its revenue from targeted ad's....aka your data.

    • waethorn

      In reply to Stooks:

      You people really think your data is secure? Come on now.

      If you really think your data is secure from government spying and corporate lobby interests, why is it that government agencies can get access to the source code, but you can't?

      The *ONLY* way you can confirm if there is a backdoor in software is if you can audit the source code.

    • willc

      In reply to Stooks:

      Your fear-mongering about Google is bad enough, but suggesting that Microsoft cares about privacy is nonsense. Not only does their advertising division provide big revenues, all of those "actual products" are infused on every level with telemetry and data-gathering technology. The only reason they switched to Chromium is because maintaining their own browser engine was too expensive. In fact, MS copying Google's work instead of innovating shows that they really don't care about privacy, security, or any of that PR BS. It's all about profits, subscriptions, monetization, data, and squeezing every last dollar out of the consumers naive enough to trust them.

      • Paul Thurrott

        Well. Microsoft *does* care more about your privacy than Google. But that's a very low bar. Microsoft cares more about your privacy than any Big Tech firm aside from Apple. I like the notion of "infused with telemetry." Telemetry is about improving how products and services work, not about violating privacy. Tracking you online to sell you ads, which is Google's only viable business right now, is very much only about violating your privacy. Also, it's not "fear-mongering" when it's true. It's a wake-up call. We've been collectively stupid about Google's privacy invasions for too long. Companies are all about profits. How they go about their business is what we need to pay attention to. I've always liked the historic Microsoft model where you pay them something to get something. With Google, you are paying something. But most of us, being truly ignorant of what they're doing, have no idea what we're paying. It's time to put a stop to that. Which, of course, antitrust regulators around the world are now working on. Not coincidental.
        • Andi

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          I disagree with strong terms as "violating your privacy" or "privacy invasions". Google respects all the laws including GDPR and the users have given their permissions for Google's services.

          Compared to Apple, Google is at least transparent. Apple does not show you what they do and how they work on your data like Google does. Google's privacy portal offers you an amazing amount of control on your data. With Apple is either download all or delete.

  12. mebby

    "To counter this illegal behavior, Vivaldi will no longer identify itself as Vivaldi to websites. Instead, Vivaldi will now appear much like Chrome does, eliminating fake compatibility issues. (This is a problem for the new Microsoft Edge, by the way, and I’m curious to see whether Microsoft ever addresses it.)"

    So the identification of a browser like Vivaldi or Edge is not based on Chromium being the underlying tech?

  13. RonV42

    I still hit web sites that promote "Chrome or Safari" due to their issues with MS in the browser user agent. I have been running many browsers side by side including Vivaldi and I would say it's a very capable browser. I haven't seen any blocking yet but the banners that you are running a unsecured or unsupported browser are just wrong.