Most modern web browsers let you choose your own default search engine. But Vivaldi is going a step further by letting you set two different default search providers: one for normal browsing, and another for private browsing.
The Vivaldi blog post announcing the feature focuses on the fact that the latest version of Vivaldi sets the default search provider for private browsing to DuckDuckGo, since that search engine doesn’t track, save or share user data… which makes private browsing even more private.
But if you’d prefer not to a different default search engine for private browsing, you can do that too.
The first time you launch a private window (by hitting Ctrl+Shift+N), you’ll be greeted with a window that shows DuckDuckGo as the default, but which lets you choose to use Bing, Yahoo, Google, or another search engine.
If you dismiss that menu but want to make the change later, you can just open Vivaldi’s settings menu, go to the search tab, and select the providers you want to use for normal and private browsing modes. If you don’t see your preferred search engine listed, you can click the + icon to add your own.
Note that the defaults apply to searches made through the location bar at the top of the screen. If you use the dedicated search box at the top right corner, you can always choose a search engine from the drop-down menu… and your defaults have nothing to do with what you see in that box. It just shows whichever search engine you used last.
If you’re wondering why there are basically two boxes you can search in, you can disable one or the other from the Search settings. Vivaldi lets you uncheck a box labeled “Show Search Field in Address Bar” to get rid of the search box on the right. Or you can uncheck the “Search in Address Field” to use the box on the left only for URLs.
Vivaldi may not have the name recognition or user base of rivals like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari. But the browser was founded a few years ago by Jon von Tetzchner who was also co-founder of the Opera web browser.
After Opera shifted direction a few years ago by starting to use Google’s Blink rendering engine and eliminating some features for power users, von Tetzchner wanted to introduce a browser that was designed specifically for power users. And while I still use Chrome as my day-to-day browser, every time I check out Vivalid I’m impressed by just how many customization options it does have.
The ability to set different search defaults for different browsing modes is just the latest. You can also set per-tab page zoom levels, customize mouse gestures, and perform many other tweaks.