Software

​Vivaldi wants to make your web browsing history useful

The next version of the browser sports a calendar-like tool to help you rediscover that viral video you saw a few weeks ago.

Vivaldi 1.8 gives a calendar-like interface to browsing history to try to make it easier to retrace your online steps.

Vivaldi

Where you've already been on the web turns out to be a pretty important predictor of where you'd like to go next.

That's why the next version of Vivaldi, a newer competitor to the likes of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, is putting browser history front and center. The new Vivaldi 1.8, due to arrive as soon as next week, revamps browser history to try to make it more useful, said Jon von Tetzchner, the company chief executive and founder who earlier led the rival Opera Software company.

You might not feel any urge to change browsers. But Vivaldi is betting enough people will be interested by its approach -- add options catering to the needs of heavy-duty web users and respond to their feature requests -- that the company can make a business against market leader Chrome.

Vivaldi's new history feature offers a calendar view of sites you've visited in addition to the traditional list. The idea is to give you new cues to find old sites. For example, maybe you remember seeing a particular site on a day when you were particularly active on the web, von Tetzchner said.

These days, search is often the best way to find that funny video you want to share a few weeks after you first saw it, especially since browser searches these days scour your browsing history as well as the internet. But search can fall short when your memory is faint, the website is obscure or you can't figure the right search terms.

​Vivaldi 1.8's history interface shows you how active you've been online.

Vivaldi 1.8's history interface shows you how active you've been online.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi has won over about a million users since its launch two years ago," von Tetzchner said. It'll take about 3 million to 5 million for the 35-employee startup to achieve financial stability. "That's what we need to break even," he said.

Another big new feature in the works is built-in e-mail, something Opera once had but dropped. This, too, is designed to make life easier for power users who might be frustrated trying to switch among browser tabs for various Gmail or other email accounts today.

"If you have multiple email accounts, then webmail is more cumbersome than you would think," von Tetzchner said.

Vivaldi plans to offer mobile versions of the browser too, but hasn't released one yet.

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