Opera used to be one of the most-innovative web browsers on the market, and is responsible for pioneering many of the features that have become standard in today’s browsers, but that time has long since passed. These days, there’s not much of a reason to use anything other than Chrome or Firefox, but the co-founder and former CEO of Opera has designed a new browser that he hopes will change that. Known as Vivaldi, this new browser is filled to the brim with useful features that cater to power users, and it officially launched on Wednesday.
After leaving Opera Software ASA in 2010, Jon von Tetzchner didn’t expect to be back in the browser-building game. But dissatisfaction with current browser options has resulted in today’s launch of Vivaldi 1.0, which boasts the most powerful tab-management features around and a Notes feature similar to that in Microsoft’s Edge browser. The Vivaldi browser has been downloaded over 1 million times in pre-release builds, and though Version 1 goes final today, von Tetzchner and his geographically far-flung team plan many more feature additions, including an email reader, a syncing feature, and mobile app versions. Browsers that aren’t tied to a big tech platform company have a hard time taking hold. Firefox is the notable exception, nabbing nearly 25 percent of browser market share at its high point. But Opera struggles with less than 2 percent share, and the social-centric Flock was retired. None of that stops Opera founder von Tetzchner, who thinks the world is craving a more customizable Web browser. For those who aren’t familiar with Opera, the Norway-based browser firm was responsible for innovations that are standard fare in all Web browsers today, including basics like built-in search and tabs.