Vivaldi browser’s latest features include “fast forward and rewind”

Ordinarily I wouldn’t be writing multiple stories about technical previews of a new browser, but Jon von Tetzchner’s new Vivaldi keeps coming up with surprises even before it hits the beta stage.

Vivaldi’s second technical preview, released Thursday, adds expected features such as bookmarks, but it also includes new ideas such as “fast forward and rewind”. The fast forward feature acts as a navigational aid for jumping to the most logical next page – the next search result or forum thread page, or the next photo in a gallery. Fast rewind takes you back to the first page you visited on the site you’re reading.

The Opera founder’s new power browser is also gaining features that could well endear it to various niches. For those on slow or costly connections, there’s control over whether pages should load images or not, or only show cached images. For those surfing without a mouse, there’s an experimental new spatial navigation feature for jumping around pages with minimal key presses.

Interestingly, even at this early stage Vivaldi seems to be gunning for those who want to browse using widely-overlooked languages, adding options for Galician, Armenian, Macedonian, Belarusian and (no surprise, given von Tezchner’s origins) Icelandic. The second technical preview also adds support for 64-bit Windows and 32-bit and 64-bit Linux (actually, the 32-bit Linux support appeared last month, but it wasn’t included in the first technical preview release as such).

The first technical preview had 400,000 downloads in a week; since then the rush slowed, as it had a total download tally around the 700,000 mark. But remember, this is still just a technical preview for testing purposes – it’s not even at the alpha stage yet, let alone beta. Von Tetzchner and his largely ex-Opera team are trying to differentiate Vivaldi from its stripped-down rivals as much as they can, and it’s interesting to observe how they’re doing so.

Technical preview of Vivaldi browser had 400K downloads in a week

The new Vivaldi browser, unveiled a week ago by Opera founder Jon von Tetzchner, is off to a roaring start. Its first technical preview – the thing isn’t even in beta yet – has already had 400,000 downloads. As von Tetzchner said in a Wednesday update to supporters, this is more people than live in his native Iceland. His Vivaldi team is trying to provide a feature-rich power browser for people who don’t like the current trend for pared-back browsers that disappear into the background, a group that these days includes Opera (von Tetzchner quit the company a few years back). He also said in the message that the team will deliver new builds of the browser on a weekly basis.

CEO Shuffle at Opera Comes at a Critical Time

Opera Software has named Lars Boilesen (shown) as the company’s new CEO, replacing Jon S. von Tetzchner, who co-founded the Norwegian company in 1995 and has served as its head ever since. The shift marks the end of an era for the company.

Opera Mini, Unite and the Future of Mobile Browsers the serious world of high-tech executives, Jon von Tetzchner stands out as a refreshingly irreverent leader. The Icelandic-born CEO of Opera Software — who in 2005 comically attempted to swim from Norway to the U.S. as a public-relations stunt — preaches the company’s vision of “One Web” that jon operawould deliver a full Internet experience to people regardless of whether they access online content with a desktop, a mobile computer or a wireless phone. It’s a goal Opera continues to work toward with its mobile and PC browsers and with Opera Unite, a new technology that aims to turn PCs — and, eventually, cell phones — into servers that let users share content with others via the browser.
In the edited interview below, Tetzchner, a speaker at this week’s Mobilize 09 in San Francisco, offers his thoughts via e-mail on the U.S. mobile market, the evolution of phone browsers, and the effect app stores will have on the space. Read More about Opera Mini, Unite and the Future of Mobile Browsers