I’m seeing a few people on Micro.blog post about how Chrome Is Bad. Instead of replying to each one with my recommendations, I figured it would be better just to post my story here.

I became unhappy with Chrome about two years ago. I can’t remember exactly why, but I know it was because Google was doing something that I found distasteful. I was also getting concerned about how much data I was making available to Google in general. I can prove nothing, but something about using a browser offered for free by an advertising company made me feel uneasy.

So I started looking for alternatives. The type of browser I was looking for needed the following attributes:

  • It had to use the Blink rendering engine: I liked how Chrome rendered web pages.
  • It had to offer the same developer tools as Chrome: in my opinion, they are the best in the business.
  • It had to run Chrome plugins.
  • It had to be a bit more customisable than Chrome was: I was getting a little bored with the Chrome’s minimalist aesthetic, and there were a few niggling things that I wanted to change.
  • It had to have my interests at hand: so no sneaky business like observing my web browsing habits.

I heard about the Vivialdi browser from an Ars Technica article and I decided to give it a try. The ambition of the project intrigued me: building a browser based on Chromium but with a level of customisation that can make the browser yours. I use a browser every day so the ability to tailor the experience to my needs was appealing. I decided to download it and give it a try. First impressions were mixed: the UI is not a polished as Chrome’s, and seeing various controls everywhere was quite a shock compared to the minimalism that Chrome offered. But I eventually set it as my default browser, and over time I grew to really like it.

I’m now using Vivialdi on all my machines, and my Android phone as well. It feels just like Chrome, but offers so much more. I came to appreciate the nice little utilities that the developers added; like the note taking panel which comes in really handy for writing Jira comments that survive when Jira decides to crash. It’s not as stable as Chrome; it feels a tad slower, and it does occasionally crash — this is one of those browsers that need to be closed at the end of the day. But other than that, I’m a huge fan.

So for those looking for an alternative to Chrome that feels a lot like Chrome, I recommend giving Vivialdi a try.