We’re all quite familiar with Safari (Apple), Chrome (Google) and FireFox (Mozilla.) Then there’s Microsoft’s new play with Edge, finally pushing out that tattered, bloated beast called Internet Explorer. So why on earth would anyone a) take on the technology giants and b) really find any reason to build another browser? Browsers today have far more demands on them. Todays browsers are often where a lot of work gets done. There are a couple of new Web browsers on the market that I think offer some good choice alaternatives. We might possibly see more. Here’s a quick look at two of them and their “raison d’etre” so to speak.
CLIQZ – Germany
I’m in the midst of writing this post in the Cliqz browser. I’m not so sure about the brand name they chose. But the browser after two days of use is slick. Fast. It’s got a nice little “shield” feature that helps with anti-tracking. There are good privacy controls and the engine is built from the FireFox engine (I think). Preference controls are pretty much the same as all the others. Customization and themes? Not much so far, but hey, it’s new. They also seem to have their own search engine, though it’s mostly focused on Germany, so for now you’ll want to use DuckDuckGo or Google or whatever other one you like. It’s a very clean UI that’s been given some thought.
Is it a workhorse browser? You can add a lot of FireFox extensions. I’ve found it handles Google Docs, Facebook, LinkedIn and my other tabs quite fine. I usually have about 10-15 tabs open on a quiet day and 2-3 windows with multiple tabs and several documents and analytics apps running. It’s met the demand. They are majority owned by Hubert Burda Media in Germany…a media powerhouse. So far I like and would recommend giving it a spin.
Vivaldi – USA
I’ve had Vivaldi installed for a couple of months. This is not a browser for the feint of heart. This is a power users browser if there ever was one, with tons of personalisation/customisation available. I really like the way you can take notes inside the browser alongside a page you’re on. Norwegian based with some great Icelandic input, it grew out from the world of the Opera browser. (Note: I edited where Vivaldi is based as my original post said Vivaldi is American, but it’s not. Which is actually quite cool.)
This is a browser I use constantly in my deep research projects. I run some pretty heavy workloads through Amazon Redshift and a some data/compute services. Vivaldi takes it and doesn’t slow down much. Mind you, when I’m doing that stuff I’m not using my MacBook Pro, that’s on a Mac Pro. If you want a ton of customization then Vivaldi is for you. And that’s exactly who they want.
The Usual Suspects
What browser you use comes down to preference and the OS ecosystem you’re embedded in. I just happen to prefer the Apple ecosystem, others prefer Linux or Windows. Vivaldi and Cliqz work across all except Chromium.
Safari is slicker and faster than it used to be. With Apple expected to bring Apple Pay right into the browser this fall, that will make it sticky for some folks. I personally find Chrome to be a processor hog and rarely use it (I’ve not been able to play YouTube videos in Chrome for two years; how ironic is that?.) FireFox is a good standby and works fine and is a secondary workhorse choice for me with lots of great extensions. Opera is just a bit of laggard, but works okay.