A new approach to web browsers gives students better productivity tools, and the Vivaldi browser in particular could change how you interact with the internet.

Two programmers hatched the idea for Vivaldi in 1994. Co-founders Jon von Tetzchner and Tatsuki Tomita envisioned a fast web browser that ran with minimal hardware requirements and included customization tools to let users configure their own experience. Their initial work led to the birth of the Opera browser in 1995.

Opera, and the company attached with it, ultimately veered away from von Tetzchner and Tomita’s vision. Undeterred, they started anew and developed Vivaldi, and in November the developers released their recreation as a Beta (an early phase in the software development cycle).

Part of the development phase for any piece of software is to have users test the programming, searching for bugs and other problems harming the user experience. This is what Beta versions are for, and not surprisingly, Beta browsers are often unreliable. Vivaldi beta, by contrast, was quite stable and functional.

Vivaldi Primer

Vivaldi beta is available as a free download for Windows, Linux and Apple computers. The developers have provided a few traits that make this browser a strong alternative to established browsers. First, it’s highly customizable, giving users total tab control. I am a power user on the computer, and I practically live in a web browser. The browser is my portal to my email, research, business records and cloud storage. Most browsers get in my way at one point or another, forcing me to adapt my research and writing routines to suit the browser.

Vivaldi does not. This browser adjusts its feature base to how I want to use it. For one example, in Vivaldi, I can put the address bar where I want it, and move it around at my convenience.

Totally Tabs

Vivaldi is all about the tab. Tabs I have open when I close the browser remain open when I again load Vivaldi and I can stack my open tabs into groups or content themes. I can title the stacks and display ordered grouped tabs in a separate browser window. This last feature particularly enhances my productivity and makes Vivaldi one of the easier browsers to use. It’s especially convenient for taking notes and organizing class materials.

Features on Display

Vivaldi’s tool set also includes other productivity aides. Quick Commands access key browser functions through written commands: just enter a key word or phrase in the drop down search window and all the related content links will pop into the list.

Mouse gestures tell Vivaldi to execute a specific browser function. Smart tools organize bookmarks and provide fast access to favorite sites and content through multiple speed dials. I especially like the note-taking panel in the browser. The note tool lets me link notes to a page and attach screen shots.