Vivaldi introduces ad-blocker in latest browser snapshot - gHacks Tech News

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Vivaldi introduces ad-blocker in latest browser snapshot

Vivaldi continues its work of integrating protective features into the company's web browser. The company launched tracking protection in a recent snapshot to block known trackers automatically when the feature is enabled.

The latest snapshot goes a step further by introducing a full-blown ad-blocker in the web browser.

Vivaldi announced the change last week on the official desktop snapshots blog.

In an earlier snapshot, we introduced a tracking blocker. Today we take this a step further and offer a more complete, built-in ad blocker for those who want it. We are adding this because many of you are already using ad blockers, in the form of extensions, but would prefer something maintained by us.

Vivaldi notes that the ad-blocker complements the tracking blocking functionality but does not supersede it. Users of the browser who want both protections need to enable the full blocking level in the browser's settings.

Vivaldi does not reveal information about the ad-blocking functionality that it integrated into the browser. It appears to be list-based but it is unclear which blocking list or lists it uses.

A quick test showed that it blocked advertisement on the majority of sites visited while the feature was enabled in the browser.

vivaldi ad-blocker

Vivaldi users need to enable ad-blocking in the settings as it is disabled by default. Here is how that is done:

  1. Select Vivaldi Menu > Tools > Settings.
  2. Open the Privacy tab once the Settings window opened.
  3. Scroll down to the Tracker and Ad Blocking section.
  4. Switch the Blocking Level to "Block Trackers and Ads".

The changes take effect immediately, a restart is not required. Management of the feature is limited at the time of writing.

The only option that is provided is to create exceptions for sites. If you want to exclude Ghacks from the blocking, you'd need to click on the Shield icon while on the site and switch the blocking level to no blocking or tracker blocking.

vivaldi blocking exceptions

All exceptions are listed on the Settings page underneath the Blocking Level preference. There it is possible to remove sites from the exceptions list.

Note that you can also add sites to the block list this way if the blocking level is not set to block tracking and/or advertisement.

Closing Words

The native ad-blocking worked well during tests and it may persuade some users to switch from using an extension for that to using the built-in functionality.

Some users may skip it for now as it offers less features than extension-based content blockers such as uBlock Origin; theser offer features such as custom filters, blocking list managements, additional protections, or options to block certain elements on sites which Vivaldi does not support at the time of writing.

Now You: What is your take on Vivaldi's integration of ad-blocking and tracking-blocking in the browser?

Summary
Vivaldi introduces ad-blocker in latest browser snapshot
Article Name
Vivaldi introduces ad-blocker in latest browser snapshot
Description
The latest desktop snapshot of the Vivaldi web browser introduces native ad-blocking functionality in the web browser.
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Comments

  1. pd said on March 16, 2020 at 7:58 am
    Reply

    Honest question: does anyone else care about this browser or is it just Martin’s interest that keeps spawning these reports? :)

    1. Yuliya said on March 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm
      Reply

      I care. I quite like it. Performance has been improved over the last year, its UI is quite responsive and pages too. Not pure Chromium level, but good enough.

    2. Herman Cost said on March 16, 2020 at 2:22 pm
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      I use it as a secondary browser where I delete all cookies when I close it. I installed it when I got rid of Chrome and I think it is quite good, actually. Its performance issues are a thing of the past, it is quite customizable, and the developers keep making incremental privacy and performance improvements.

    3. Claymore said on March 16, 2020 at 3:01 pm
      Reply

      I care too. Because Vivaldi is the real successor of Opera and not that wannabe, just grabbing the brand and do whatever they want. Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner – former leader of the real Opera is the reason, why we have Vivaldi. And I love it.

    4. Coriy said on March 16, 2020 at 5:07 pm
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      It works quite nicely, and I use it from home when I have to access work material. A few sites whine about its ad-blocking, too. It’d be nice if the user had control over what ads were being blocked (via lists), so the implementation is very similar to the Bromite browser (for android) and the version of Chromium from https://chromium.woolyss.com/

    5. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 5:27 pm
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      Vivaldi is my main browser. So yes, we care.

    6. Trey said on March 16, 2020 at 6:20 pm
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      Second browser. It’s the closest to what old Opera was.

    7. George said on March 16, 2020 at 8:44 pm
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      pd wrote: “Honest question: does anyone else care about this browser”

      I don’t. Look at this article. It’s about a sensational new feature: undocumented ad-blocking. What’s next from Vivaldi: tabbed browsing? Right-click/Save support?

      I don’t like software that keeps reinventing the wheel. “Features” like this are usually either PR stunts (Look, we now have this great “new” feature!) – or worse.

      1. Yuliya said on March 16, 2020 at 10:05 pm
        Reply

        >software that keeps reinventing the wheel. “Features” like this are usually either PR stunts (Look, we now have this great “new” feature!) – or worse.
        That sounds a lot like implementing a feature which would block trackers only. Literally reinventing the wheel, but making it triangular instead of a circular, hoping it will go down hill faster.
        *spoilers alert* the only thing which went downhill fast was the market share

    8. Anonymous said on March 17, 2020 at 2:23 am
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      “Second browser. It’s the closest to what old Opera was.” – Trey

      I think that sums it up perfectly. It not only describes Vivaldi the browser, but also the reason why hardly anybody uses it. Back in the pre-chrome-clone days, Opera was a very distant last place also-ran browser, and it looks like the inept lack of business and common sense has carried over to Vivaldi, making it yet again appeal only to a very minor fringe crowd.

  2. Weilan said on March 16, 2020 at 8:04 am
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    Once in 5 years they do something right. Maybe by 2050, they will have a decent browser… One can only hope. xD

    1. Weilan said on March 16, 2020 at 8:25 am
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      I tested the new ad-blocking and it’s OK, but not enough to give up Nano Adblocker + Nano Defender for it.

      It just doesn’t block everything, like cookie prompts and social buttons like faceshit, twitter, reddit. Also on some websites, it still leaves the placeholders where the ads should be.

  3. Bryan said on March 16, 2020 at 8:44 am
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    I’m really curious why it has taken the Vivaldi devs this long to ad in tracking/ad blocking protection. I’m sure some of it might have to do with their partners and what offers are on by default in Vivaldi, but at some point it seemed ridiculous that a browser “for our friends” didn’t have that sort of protection.

    The current Android beta app has no protection whatsoever and is difficult to recommend. Even Microsoft Edge has ad blocking and tracking protection now.

    Anyway, glad to see that it’s coming!

    1. Mike W. said on March 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm
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      I believe the Vivaldi devs did a blog post right around the time the Manifest V3 hornets next got kicked up, which essentially boiled down to the devs (at that time) believed it should be up to Vivaldi’s users to install content blockers and that by offering something in the browser by default they would be hurting website owners.

      I’m guessing what changed is that Vivaldi decided it would be easier to offer a built-in content blocker, than make changes to the Chromium-base code regarding Manifest V3. Especially if uBlock is eventually pulled from the Chrome Web Store, which Vivaldi relies on to offer users extensions.

  4. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 8:55 am
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    Do I need this browser – no I don’t .Opera browser already does it,both built in.
    There is a possibility Vivaldi will working on a built flash light though 😂

  5. Paul(us) said on March 16, 2020 at 10:14 am
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    It’s always preferable to have a really quality add blockers inside.
    Only when it supersedes or is equal to the real quality blockers like Ublock and NoScript are offering, I will use the build-in adblocker.
    Anything less quality wise like AdBlock (or Adblock plus) is not acceptable to me and, in main hopefully, humble enough opinion, not good enough for anybody!

  6. ShintoPlasm said on March 16, 2020 at 10:19 am
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    I’m less concerned about the desktop version, where extensions (still) exist to block ads. The Android app, however, has no ad- and tracker-blocking and is nearly unusable on the unfiltered internet.

    1. akg said on March 16, 2020 at 5:09 pm
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      @ ShintoPlasm
      latest vivaldi beta snapshot have already tracking protection . which rely on duckduckgo privacy extension lists.
      https://vivaldi.com/blog/snapshots/mobile/android-2-12-1847-3/

  7. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 10:47 am
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    With Manifest V3 and many browsers implementing native ad blocking, the end of ublock era is coming soon.

    1. Iron Heart said on March 16, 2020 at 11:58 am
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      Manifest V3 was way overblown regarding its overall impact. The only browser which will be affected is Chrome, the other Chromium-based browsers (apart from Edge) have native adblockers already. Also, we still have Pi-Hole on the router level. I wouldn’t worry too much.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on March 16, 2020 at 12:45 pm
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        @IH: EdgeC does have a tracking blocker of sorts built-in. Not a full-blown adblocker, but decent enough for rudimentary blocking that – as you said – will not be affected by Manifest v3.

      2. Iron Heart said on March 16, 2020 at 3:11 pm
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        @ShintoPlasm

        You are right that MS Edge comes with basic tracking protection. However, Microsoft has its own ad network, allowing powerful adblocking collides with that. Even if they include an adblocker, it will likely never be as aggressive as the ones included in Brave or Opera.

        Whehter MS does something about the crippled APIs really depends on how aggressively they want to attack Google. If they employ very aggressive tactics, then they will allow a fully functional webRequest API in the future, even if they don’t include a native adblocker. If they decide that it’s not in their interest, you can kiss powerful ablocking goodbye once Google removes Manifest V2 capabilities and MS Edge follows suit.

      3. ShintoPlasm said on March 17, 2020 at 1:07 pm
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        @IH:

        Agree with your analysis of Microsoft, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

        Regarding Opera, what makes you think that its adblocker is aggressive and does not allow all manner of ads and trackers in through the back door? Curious to understand your experience with it.

      4. Iron Heart said on March 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm
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        @ShintoPlasm

        Opera’s adblocking is aggressive in the sense that it comes with very good lists by default, and in that you can add your own lists(!) to the internal adblocker. Brave can’t do this so far, although this is a planned feature as per their GitHub page. Brave comes with a good range of filter lists, but so far you can’t add your own lists to it, contrary to Opera.

        I refuse to use Opera for other reasons, though. Namely Opera being closed source and the privacy policy of the browser, which is nothing short of horrific (as bad as Chrome, if not worse). No point in having a good adblock when the browser itself spies on you, IMHO.

      5. Ipse said on March 16, 2020 at 1:13 pm
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        What are you talking about? It’s not at all overblown unless you haven’t noticed chrome’s market share. The number who use pi-holes or have even heard of it is minuscule vs the number of chrome or anything users. Plus no, some chromium based browsers have built in ad blocking, many don’t. A good example is ungoogled chromium that you often recommend which doesn’t. Of course things might change in the future and it becomes standard to include one but as it stands, only some do.

      6. Iron Heart said on March 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm
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        @Ipse

        You need to consider this: Those who run adblockers are a (albeit growing) minority of browser users. The majority doesn’t care about or doesn’t even know about adblockers, so a crippled webRequest API is not something these people will be noticing.

        The people who do care about adblocking will be moving to other browsers once Google removes Manifest V2 capabilities (Manifest V2 and V3 will be included in parallel for some time).

        You mentioned Ungoogled Chromium, and yes, I do recommend it because it has arguably the best privacy level out of all Chromium-based browsers so far. Google has announced that they will be keeping a fully functional webRequest API in the Enterprise version of Chrome, so it stands to reason that full adblocking capabilities can still be activated by other Chromium-based browsers, maybe it will even be as easy as flipping one switch differently. That will depend on the roadblocks Google puts in place in order to prevent others from using Chrome’s Enterprise-exclusive capabilities, though. So yes, I do worry about Ungoogled Chromium, but maybe it can still be saved depending on how evil and cunning Google chooses to be. You are right though, the only browsers that can be considered 100% safe are those which ship with native adblockers that do not rely on extension APIs (Brave, Opera, Vivaldi).

        And yeah, I also agree that Pi-Hole is not and will likely never be a mass market, but it is a noteworthy option to block ads independent of browser choice. So is AdGuard, however I prefer not to use closed source software if I don’t have to.

      7. Klaas Vaak said on March 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm
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        @Iron Heart: +1 for a balanced, well-reasoned reply.

      8. Ipse said on March 16, 2020 at 9:23 pm
        Reply

        So that was a long winded way of agreeing that in fact it is something to worry about and isn’t overblown.

        However I totally agree that despite warning after warning and breach after breach and all the scummy practices of companies that it does seem to be a minority, and probably a small one at that, that care about their privacy. Which is why things need to be regulated so that complacent and plain stupid are protected too.

  8. Ipse said on March 16, 2020 at 11:49 am
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    I would imagine that very few use custom rules etc, ubo does well enough by default although I do like the options to block remote fonts and media over a certain size. So if these built in ad blockers get to that level then you would think that most would be happy. Plus they avoid manifest 3 problems which extensions can’t. I know one (starting with B) has now added cosmetic filtering in their nightly builds so they are becoming more fancy as they didn’t used to to be all that great.

  9. Kobalt said on March 16, 2020 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    I enjoy using Vivaldi. And use Adguard. I just don’t like Opera or Firefox. Chrome is default. ChromeEdge is meh. But then it’s personal preference isn’t it, like food, or music, etc.

  10. Samanto Hermes said on March 16, 2020 at 4:48 pm
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    It seems Vivaldi is becoming the best Chromium-based browser, if not the best, out of the box.

    1. Iron Heart said on March 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm
      Reply

      @Samanto Hermes

      Once they fully open source it and once its adblocker becomes as capable as Brave Shields, I would be inclined to agree.

    2. 3rdrock said on March 16, 2020 at 9:26 pm
      Reply

      It isn’t the best out of the box at the moment, not for privacy anyway. However there’s nothing to stop them picking up, say, the Brave mods for their shields and using that. Then you will have customisation and privacy, just lacking speed mainly in the UI.

  11. Sebas said on March 16, 2020 at 6:08 pm
    Reply

    It sure is a reason for me to install it and try it out. Seems a good move.

  12. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 6:19 pm
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    Any browser that is designed for its users should bundle ublock origin (enabled). All those that prefer to integrate their own blocking system do it for anti-user reasons, namely because

    > it may persuade some users to switch from using an extension for that to using the built-in functionality

    because

    > it offers less features than extension-based content blockers such as uBlock Origin; these offer features such as custom filters, blocking list managements, additional protections, or options to block certain elements on sites which [the native solution] does not support at the time of writing.

    and more importantly ub0 is not sold to the enemy, so not only it will not let anything through for anti-user reasons, but it will even innovate against threats, contrary to native blockers that strangely seem to go back in time. Compare to native blocking where some will whitelist the site of the search engine they have a deal with, and some will go further and whitelist whole categories of ads because they think advertisers are nice people and you would surely agree too if advertisers were at the origin of your “zero shareholder, non-profit” multi-million dollars yearly salary…

    Avoid that trap and install ublock origin, a blocker that doesn’t come from sell-outs who want to milk you.

    Now a growing threat is also native browser adware (Firefox, Brave…). Webextensions are designed by browser developers to be unable to counter those. The easy solution against that is to use browsers without native adware.

    1. Iron Heart said on March 16, 2020 at 8:07 pm
      Reply

      @Anonymous

      Brave Ads are disabled by default, Brave users seeing those have consciously decided to enable them. Not sure what you are on about.

      1. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 9:36 pm
        Reply

        Adware is anti-user even as opt-in. It remaining opt-in is conditioned in this making them less money than if more enforced. And accepting this as opt-in contributes to the global power build-up of the ad industry that some day will allow them to enforce it more. tldr: don’t let the enemy insert even just the tip. Even more so if we get nothing from it.

        Imagine I’m placing a bomb in your living room. But it will only blow up if you voluntarily enter a code to ignite it. Nothing wrong if it’s opt-in, right ? Why don’t you like it ? Well at least in the bomb example, you’re sure that the bomb industry is not going to alter the deal later.

        Besides, like with some Firefox tracking components that when opted out of will go on storing data for better days, from what I have heard, the Brave’s extremely invasive spying on sensitive user activity seems to be active even when the actual display of ads is not opted in.

      2. Iron Heart said on March 17, 2020 at 6:53 am
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        @Anonymous

        Well, I actually get something from it if I enable it in Brave – I earn certain amounts of BAT per ad. This is how Brave works: It periodically downloads a list of possible system notifications to show you, this is the same list for everyone using Brave. Brave’s local ad matching algorithm analyzes my browsing offline and tries to find ads on the list that could be of interest to me. None of my private data leaves my PC towards Brave Software Inc. or any third party in the process.

        I consider my privacy to be intact as long as my data is not being sent to some remote server over which I have no control, to be processed there. This is clearly not what Brave does, so I consider it to be OK in terms of privacy. More extreme definitions of privacy won’t agree with me here, even if private data never leaves the local machine in the process, they will still consider it “spying”.

        But then, I guess there will always be browsers for these people. Many browsers are open source, so even if all major browsers adopt Brave’s model (highly, highly unlikely), we could soft-fork one of them and remove opt-in ads as the only differentiator.

        Your bomb example is a bit over the top, I feel. Human beings would assign a higher priority and more caution to situations where their life is at stake, we are talking about ads here. I get what you are trying to say, just saying that humans will be acting differently in life-threatening situations.

      3. Anonymous said on March 17, 2020 at 3:10 pm
        Reply

        > Well, I actually get something from it if I enable it in Brave

        Maybe you get something from enabling it, but I don’t get anything from accepting adware in my software. If I have a choice I will use software that doesn’t have adware at all.

        And anyway, you implicitly confirmed that it’s not really opt-in because the spying components work even when not opted in. Spying even on the activity of other software on the device, apparently…

        > I earn certain amounts of BAT per ad

        This is similar to the idea of paying for a “free” service with private data, here you’re paid to be spied on by advertisers. And although a now very common business model this is wrong because privacy should be a human right, not a commodity.

        Adware is malware and should not be encouraged. The more of us surrender to those practices, the more difficult it becomes to avoid them for those who reject them, until it becomes impossible. Free user choice is an illusion here, the ad industry as a whole has far too much power.

        > Many browsers are open source, so even if all major browsers adopt Brave’s model (highly, highly unlikely), we could soft-fork one of them and remove opt-in ads as the only differentiator.

        Forks are no longer enough to eradicate anti-user components. Otherwise, cleaned forks of Chrome or Firefox would be the main ones used instead of the unforked browsers.

        > More extreme definitions of privacy won’t agree with me here

        This is not an “extreme” definition of privacy. This is the definition that most would have accepted before surveillance capitalism brainwashed mankind. This is the definition that the EFF agrees with here:

        “More importantly, if Hoglund is right, Blizzard has a pretty skewed idea of privacy—we can look at your personal info, but if we don’t collect it there’s no invasion? Hardly. We also wonder how Blizzard’s executives would feel if we searched their homes, wallets, and bank accounts and read their letters and emails but didn’t write down anything we found.”

        https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2005/10/new-gaming-feature-spyware

        This is the definition of privacy that even Jim Balsillie from BlackBerry had to remind to the Canada Parliament:

        “Don’t be “tricked by platitudes,” Balsillie urged the MPs. While Google might not sell user information per se, it certainly monetizes it in transactions with third parties. Nearly 85 percent of the revenue generated by Alphabet—Google’s parent company—comes from advertising, so the levers between personal data and profit making are plain to see. The relevant question, said Balsillie, taking off his glasses, is, “Do you exploit information?””

        https://thewalrus.ca/are-you-afraid-of-google-blackberry-cofounder-jim-balsillie-says-you-should-be/

        *Your* definition of privacy is the definition by an adware company that profits from private data. That makes it the worthless one.

        Besides, this is assuming that “None of my private data leaves my PC towards Brave Software Inc. or any third party”, as insufficient as it is to say that there is no spying, is not itself a lie. There are generally two parts in adware, spying to target ads, then spying to tell what ads were displayed or clicked. How does the second part work ? I read that

        “Brave uses anonymous-but-accountable ad confirmation events to report campaign performance and delivery for advertisers.”

        https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360026361072-Brave-Ads-FAQ

        Is the trick that private data about the user activity leaves the device, but you’re pretending it’s not private data because it’s anonymized ?

    2. Anonymous said on March 17, 2020 at 5:47 pm
      Reply

      Since we’re talking about Brave once again, note that last year those bastards hired the main maintainer of the main ublock origin filter lists (not the developer of ublock origin), officially only to pay him for his work on the lists because Brave uses them. The ad industry will stick its greasy fingers everywhere it can, find every weakness, buy influence on every opposition when they can. So, strictly speaking, ublock origin can no longer be said to be 0% sold to the enemy.

      However I am not aware of negative consequences yet on the filter lists, in particular they are still publicly community maintained as before and with the same rules as before, with strong public scrutiny; and the developer of the ublock origin still has his independence and control on the included lists, which could help counter bad influence from Brave if it ever begins. Brave has interests in the ads of competitors being blocked, but not always (they have a browser search deal for instance…), and more generally ad filters deserve better than being funded by competing advertisers, this sort of things rarely ends well.

  13. Bhooty said on March 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm
    Reply

    Just use pihole as your dns for home
    If u don’t have raspberry pi
    Use the one provided here
    https://public-pihole.com/

    Just ping the servers
    Use the ones which is of lower latency
    Don’t use only one dns use two
    Like i use Singapore as primary
    And canada as secondary

    1. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 10:21 pm
      Reply

      The “public-pihole” name is curious. The point of a pi-hole is that the blocking happens locally before DNS queries are even sent. This should be just called an alternative DNS that does ad blocking, which may have privacy consequences.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on March 17, 2020 at 7:58 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous: no more privacy consequences than any other DNS server. And at least with this one you get adblocking and tracking-blocking.

      2. Anonymous said on March 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm
        Reply

        > @Anonymous: no more privacy consequences than any other DNS server.

        Not using the default DNS has privacy consequences because a supplementary third-party gets data. You need to trust this third-party.

    2. Anonymous said on March 17, 2020 at 1:52 am
      Reply

      Pihole is useless. It does not block YouTube ads.

    3. Klaas Vaak said on March 17, 2020 at 7:59 am
      Reply

      @Bhooty: thanks for sharing a useful link.

  14. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 10:55 pm
    Reply

    Vivaldi is more than just a browser, It is a community.
    They do care about their users.
    Of course the browser is not perfect, but they do have great values as a company and they listen to their users too.
    Von Tezner is the real deal, putting ideals and values first at Vivaldi.
    For me, Vivaldi is the BEST browser right now, by far.

  15. HappyMigrator said on March 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm
    Reply

    Setting to add custom lists was just added in the latest shapshot of today. Now if they add a content blocker like Opera Presto had (similar to uBlock’s element picker) and some sort of script/css blocking like uMatrix it will be perfect.

  16. mean green bad said on March 18, 2020 at 2:42 am
    Reply

    > Vivaldi is more than just a browser, It is a community.

    Wow! A proprietary browser has a community! Not something I’d want to mess with. (barf)

    > For me, Vivaldi is the BEST browser right now, by far.

    Open the code, open source it all, FOSS all the way and reproducible builds.

    Until then, go on pimping proprietary shit but don’t be surprised when your mouth starts to taste like shit.

    Fuck advertisers.

  17. Coriy said on March 19, 2020 at 1:42 am
    Reply

    Herr Brinkmann,
    Vivaldi released an new Browser Snapshot on 17March. They changed the ad and tracking blocker to allow for user installed lists. It won’t install them all (a few failed) and it disallows some items (so does ublock origin). It works quite well, though my testing without ublock will continue for some time.

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