Tech

Six years in the making, Vivaldi Mail arrives alongside version 4.0 of the company’s browser

Vivaldi has released version 4.0 of its eponymous browser, adding translation capabilities and dragging the long-awaited mail and calendar functionality out of tech preview.

The email and calendar has been a long time coming — first announced in 2015 before finally clawing its way into technical preview in 2020. We took the experimental feature out for a spin and came away impressed, although it clearly needed a bit more polish and some cooperation from Google before being declared ready for the prime time.

More than half a year on, and the functionality has moved into the beta stage. It has also received a decent bit of buffing and the lifting of Google’s limits, according to Vivaldi developer Guðmundur Már Gunnarsson.

The new toys comprise betas of Vivaldi Mail, Vivaldi Calendar, and Vivaldi Feed Reader. While an offline mail client might seem a delightfully retro thing to those accustomed to accessing their email via one of Google or Microsoft’s web clients, there are undoubted benefits to keeping things local. Particularly when it comes to activities such as searching.

Like many of its kind, Vivaldi Mail allows a user to connect multiple accounts. Rather than on a server lurking somewhere in a corporate cloud, mail from those accounts is indexed and searchable locally “so users aren’t tied to a specific service provider or forced to trade access to the contents of all their mail in exchange for searchability,” according to the company.

Since the technical preview, Vivaldi has added functionality including the ability to import mail and contacts from the old Opera M2 app, sped up the start-up time and introduced a fix for IMAP/POP/SMTP login fails if a password contains non-ASCII characters.

The default three-panel layout is familiar, although users can customise it in a variety of ways.

Customisation is somewhat of a theme for Vivaldi, which has attempted to deal with the sometimes bewildering level of display options in the browser with three layouts introduced in this release: “Essentials”, “Classic”, and “Fully Loaded”. The last enables the Mail, Calendar, and Feed Reader.

The Calendar has also received bug fixes as well as the ability to create a new calendar in a user’s online account (rather than just locally). Other changes include better differentiation between tasks and events and a copying and pasting of events to different dates or times.

As well the arrival of the beta Feed Reader, the Vivaldi 4.0 update also finally adds translation abilities to the browser. Throwing more than a little shade on ad giant Google, Vivaldi makes much of its Lingvanex-powered service on both desktop and Android versions of its browser. “Ever wondered what happens to the texts that are translated when using a translation service like Google Translate?” asked the company.

The answer is relatively straightforward — if a user opts to translate a page in Google’s browser, the text (but not cookies) are sent to Google Translate over SSL and subject to the Chocolate Factory’s privacy policy. Those who sync their Chrome history will also have their interactions sent to Google “to improve Chrome’s understanding of the languages you speak.”

For Vivaldi, the Lingvanex translation engine is hosted on its own servers in Iceland. “This means there are no third-party servers involved. And it means users don’t have to share what they are reading with ‘prying eyes’,” the company said.

The Register asked Google if it had anything to add with regard to what happens to text translated by its services, but the ad slinger has yet to make a comment.

As for Vivaldi, version 4.0 represents a welcome evolution. The six-year wait for email functionality will have resulted in some users looking elsewhere (such as Mozilla Thunderbird) for a solution, although the integration might tempt some back. The translation function is also useful, particularly on mobile devices (there is, however, still no love for iOS).

Vivaldi 4.0 comes in Mac, Windows, and Linux flavours. The latter also includes ARM32 and ARM64 versions for the courageous (at time of writing, both still featured the “Unsupported” tag). ®


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