It’s crazy to see how much things change
I was 15 or 16 when Vivaldi was in private beta; I was very excited when I got my invite, especially with all the press about it! Growing up, I remember my eldest sibling using Opera as her preferred browser. I myself used Opera in the form of the Nintendo Wii’s Internet Channel as my gateway to the net from 2008 to 2013. It wasn’t until I got my first laptop that I got interested in computers or even the browser I would use.
At this point in time, Opera was not the same as my sister, or I remembered it. This is due to them switching to blink and removing what made the browser so special. Learning this, I decided to settle on Firefox for a bit as the browser still had tons of customizability, albeit, the browser itself lacked many features, and would for years to come (translations). Though my sister would use Chrome, I myself was always on the lookout for what truly suited me.
I was very into the browser from the get go, as I wanted something that I could adapt to myself and the way I use technology and browser(s). My only problem with Vivaldi was that, being a new product, it only had desktop versions. Throughout the years I left the browser for cross-platform alternatives (2015-2023), I would go through an HTC, iPhone 6s, iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel 3 XL and now, currently using, an iPhone 12.
For the most part on iOS devices, I would settle for Safari due to content blockers, and after iOS 15, extensions. While I don’t mind Safari, it’s not the first browser that comes to my mind when I think of the web. Though it is cross-platform on Apple’s own platforms, it is not cross-platform outside of them, since about 2012. On Android devices, I would cycle through a few, but with my Pixel, just opted into Chrome for it’s AdGuard (app, not add-on) integration + user scripts. I was never happy with Chrome on Android, though. The browser is so bare bones, and looks like a dinosaur now with its lack of extensions on mobile (which safari has supported since iOS 15) or Ad blockers (which iOS has supported since iOS 9 2015!).
In 2021, I bought all into the Apple ecosystem. I started with a Mac, then an iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, etc.; why? Just like the melodies of pianists, they all work together perfectly. Now, having a mix of Apple Devices, Windows and Android, I wanted something that felt “native” to all of them, in terms of browsers. Between the first Chromium Edge leak to Firefox Updates, nothing felt like it was designed for macOS or Windows. Sure, with Firefox you can use CSS to tweak around, but Mozilla or Apple can easily break it in an update. I gave up and resorted to using Edge (for Microsoft Rewards to be honest) due to this lack of my needs. This would change around early 2023.
Remembering Vivaldi, I downloaded the browser again, and set it up to fit me. I didn’t need to go to GitHub to find a theme or code to tweak the browser, as the options I like were built in as options, waiting to be tinkered with. Though I used it on and off again, between then and about mid-March, I’d switch to it as my main, and default browser. While adapting and moving from browsers, I decided to see what Vivaldi was up to while, I myself was growing from a teenager, into an adult. Not going to lie, I was somewhat astonished by how much Vivaldi grew up in such a small amount of time. An Android Version, Vivaldi Mail (remember @opera email addresses?), Vivaldi.Social, a thriving community, and now, Vivaldi for iOS… words can’t describe the amount of work, growth and ultimately, dedication of Vivaldi or its community that saw this all happen.
It’s funny seeing something you used, saw, etc. at a young age, and coming back to it years later as a mature thing. Whether it be in the digital, or physical realm. In some ways, it feels like Vivaldi has matured faster than I ever will.