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Vivaldi joins anti-tracking browser brotherhood

Niche browser maker Vivaldi Technologies this week released version 3.0 of its eponymous application, which included integrated ad- and tracker-blockers.

Both tools were disabled by default in the new version, which was released Wednesday. “We believe that many users would not wish to prevent the sites they like to visit from generating revenue, and for that reason, we don’t enable Ad blocker by default,” wrote Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO of Vivaldi, in a post to a company blog.

Vivaldi, which is based on Chromium – the Google-dominated open-source project that cranks out code for Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge – followed in the footsteps of other rivals, including Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari, in emphasizing privacy and tackling the tracking bits that make it possible for companies and advertisers to trace where users go on the web.

The browser, which harks back to 2016 (and was in beta for a considerable time before that) and has roots stretching to Opera Software – von Tetzchner was the CEO of that Norwegian browser developer until 2010 – is best known for its customization skills. The number of Vivaldi’s settings and options put to shame those of the Big Four: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

But in its four years, Vivaldi has managed to attract only the smallest of audiences. In March, U.S. analytics company Net Applications pegged Vivaldi at a dust mote-like 0.1% share of all browser activity, or less than a tenth that of Opera (1.1%) or less than one thirty-sixth that of Safari.

Blocking is the new speed

Where once browsers competed on sheer speed, then later on overall performance, now they battle it out for bragging rights on their concern for users’ privacy.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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