The team behind the innovative and most feature rich browser, Vivaldi, today announced that they are changing the way the count users of the browser. The upcoming stable release will gradually drop the use of the unique ID for user counting.
Vivaldi was started with the promise of giving you a highly customizable, full-featured, innovative browser. It looks like its developers kept their promise - there is no other browser on the market which offers the same amount of options and features. While Vivaldi is built on Chrome's engine, power users are the target user base, like the classic Opera 12 browser. Vivaldi was created by former Opera co-founder and developed keeping in mind Opera's usability and power.
As of now, Vivaldi uses a unique user ID for user counting. A blog post reveals that this causes user privacy concerns. The main reason for that is that unique IDs may be used to create user profiles, track users, or identify users especially if other data is available. So, things will be changed in Vivaldi 2.7.
While the unique ID on its own is not enough to do any meaningful tracking, I can still understand that it gets people concerned. In a world where privacy breaches have become somewhat of a norm, any form of identifier is scary.
And so, when it was brought to my attention a few months back that there was maybe a way to handle user counting without it, I was immediately interested in implementing it. In addition, since user counting is going to be needed on our upcoming Android version, it felt like a good time to reimplement user counting altogether in a more cross-platform fashion and start working towards removing the unique ID from our requests.
However, changing a user-counting solution should not be taken lightly. I’ll get into a detailed explanation below, but if you want the tl;dr version, this is what you can expect:
- Starting with our upcoming version Vivaldi 2.7, an additional request to our user counting endpoint will be made. This request is similar to the current one and includes the unique ID, but contains additional parameters that will be used by the new unique ID-free implementation.
- A few versions later, the old user counting request will be removed.
- Even later, the unique ID will be eliminated from the new request altogether. We will keep generating it locally to aid with counting on computers with several Vivaldi installations, but it will only be used locally.
So, it will take several months before the browser will completely stop submitting the unique ID to company servers. the browser will continue to generate a unique ID but that it will be used locally only to count on computers with several installations. The source code of the new user counting method will be open.
In addition to this announcement, there is a new developer snapshot that fixes the advanced Tab Muting feature which appeared broken in the previous release. You can grab Vivaldi 2.7.1628.21 here:
- Windows: 64-bit for Win7+ | 32-bit for Win7+
- macOS: 10.10+
- Linux: DEB 64-bit (Recommended) | DEB 32-bit
- Linux: RPM 64-bit (Recommended) | RPM 32-bit
- Linux: DEB ARM32-bit (Unsupported) | DEB ARM64-bit (Unsupported)
- Linux: non-DEB/RPM
It's change log looks as follows:
- [Regression] Pasted bookmark titles/descriptions need a space to be searched from address field in new tabs (VB-55868)
- [Regression] Zoom widget in status bar not updated when zooming with mouse wheel (VB-56095)
- [Address Bar] Autocomplete does not close when cutting all text (VB-56029)
- [Address Bar] Paste & Go appends clipboard to current address (VB-55601)
- [macOS] Session lost through integrated task manager in Vivaldi (VB-55801)
- [Tabs] Muting in advance doesn’t work (VB-56099)
- Updated translations