Vivaldi Takes a Stand on Tracking, Privacy, and Ads

Posted on April 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Web browsers with 0 Comments

Vivaldi has released a major new version of its web browser with new tracking and ad blockers, plus its first-ever Android browser. To test the new features, I’ve been using the desktop version of the browser exclusively since this past weekend.

“The new Vivaldi, both on desktop and mobile, represents the evolving needs of today’s savvy internet users,” Vivaldi co-founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner says. “Now more than ever, humanity needs an internet that’s well-functioning and open but also private and secure. With the new Vivaldi, users can browse with its wealth of features freely and efficiently without being tracked online.”

Like most modern web browsers—Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari being the only major remaining holdouts—Vivaldi is built using the open-source Chromium project that Google uses to create Chrome and Chrome OS. To date, the browser has staked its reputation on its incredible customization functionality and several unique features. But it has lagged behind other Chromium browsers, most notably Brave and Microsoft Edge, in jumping on the privacy and anti-tracking bandwagon.

That’s changing with Vivaldi 3.0, which is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The new version of the browser incorporates DuckDuckGo’s Tracker Radar for its anti-tracking functionality, which should put it on even footing with the competition. And as with Microsoft Edge, it supplies three levels of tracker blocking, so you can be as aggressive as you desire; I’ve noted in my tests that the highest level of blocking does break certain things on websites—like the search box on Thurrott.com, interestingly—as expected.

Vivaldi 3.0 also includes a built-in ad blocker for the first time, and in my usage over the past several days, it appears to work as well as the adblocker extension I typically use with other browsers. But because it’s built-in, the adblocking functionality is private and offers better performance, Vivaldi says. The ad blocker is disabled by default.

Also of note, of course, is the Vivaldi for Android, the first mobile version of the browser. Vivaldi for Android works with handsets, tablets, and Chromebooks and offers a feedback-driven and efficient user interface that places often-needed tools like Panels, Speed Dials, Notes, and Capture within reach. And it utilizes a desktop-like tab strip for obvious tab management.

Most notably, the mobile version of Vivaldi also provides the DuckDuckGo Tracker Radar tracking blocker and ad blocker functionality found in its desktop sibling. And, yes, the mobile browser does sync bookmarks, Speed Dials, saved passwords, autofill information, browsing history (only typed URLs for now), and Notes securely using end-to-end encryption. Vivaldi says that it stores sync data on its own servers in Iceland and never utilizes any third-party servers.

Vivaldi 3.0 is now available from the Vivaldi website. You can download Vivaldi for Android from the Google Play Store.

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