Vivaldi says no to Google Topics in its browser

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 9, 2023

Google's euphemistically named Privacy Sandbox or Ad Privacy feature is a topic of hot debate. While it is true that it is changing tracking on the Internet fundamentally by getting rid of third-party cookies, it still relies on the profiling of users, is said to give Google even more control over the advertising market, and is the first time that an advertising solution that includes tracking is integrated natively in a web browser.

Google is pushing the new advertising features into Chrome Stable slowly but steadily. Since the company is also in control of Chromium, the open source root of Google Chrome, it is also integrating these changes into that browser. This integration puts other companies and individuals who use Chromium as the source for their browsers in a precarious situation.

Several, including Brave Software, have announced already that they would disable these features in their browsers. Most cite user privacy as the main concern and to an extent also control of advertising on the Internet.

Vivaldi Technologies published a new article on the official blog yesterday in which it revealed that it won't enable Google Topics in the browser. Google Topics is one component of Google's Privacy Sandbox; it moves the tracking from the user level, which is mostly powered by cookies and site data currently, to the group level.

Instead of tracking individual users, their activity and creating profiles using the collected information, Google Topics will still analyze the activity and assign the individual user to groups. The analysis happens locally, according to Google. A user who visits lots of cats or dogs websites may be put into the Animal group. Sites and advertisers may use the information to display advertisement to the user that matches these interests.

Vivaldi Technologies explains that it "never had any faith in the Topics API from the very start", calling Topics a "deceitful attempt by Google to appear to be privacy-oriented while introducing new means of spying on their users". Integrating tracking and profiling into a browser is "fundamentally wrong", according to Vivaldi, which is why it will always oppose it.

The company confirms that the Topics API will never be enabled in the Vivaldi web browser. Two "things" would be needed to enable Topics in Vivaldi, and both of these have been disabled by Vivaldi engineers.

Not all browser makers have expressed their concerns as publicly as Vivaldi. Google plans to disable third-party cookies support in the second half of 2024, after several delays. and it is then that all Chromium-based browsers will either allow these in their browsers or disable them.

Now You: what is your favorite's browsers position in regards to Google's Privacy Sandbox?

Article Name
Vivaldi says no to Google Topics in its browser
The Chromium-based Vivaldi web browser won't ship with Google Topics, an advertising system, which Google is pushing in Chrome.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Sebas said on September 12, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    Opera 12 was just great. Fast, great interface, the first one with tabs if I remember correctly, and a really useful email client.

  2. PRESTO_LOVE said on September 11, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Wish PRESTO engine was still alive & possibly be recreated by this ex opera devs of Vivaldi so there will be more diverse browser engines & not just the dominating google chrome & slowly dying mozilla.

  3. my name is mud said on September 11, 2023 at 3:25 am


    Say YES to free and open source software!

  4. Anonymous said on September 10, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Vivaldi still sends information about the users without any way to opt-out every 24 hours.
    Also Vivaldi doesn’t proxy connections to Google servers, which means Google knows you updated components and extensions and all that.

    Vivaldi also has Google DNS and other Google stuff turned on by default.

    They also have Bing as default search engine and the ‘partners’ adblocker list, is turned on by default, which means they whitelist Bing, and as far as I remember it was a 1p and 3p, not just 1p whitelist.

    Also Vivaldi is close source and they use a terrible technology for the UI, reason why it is slow and heavy on GPU, CPU and RAM.

    1. Anonymous said on September 11, 2023 at 6:59 am

      yeah vivaldi isn’t much better

  5. Steve S. said on September 10, 2023 at 1:11 am

    I stay as far away from the “GoogleOptopus” as practical. The 1984 double-speak – like “Privacy Sandbox” and “Privacy Advertising” – gives me the creeps. Organizations keep increasing their use of such euphemisms over the last decade. Google isn’t the only data-vacuum culprit for sure.

    I sometimes hear the argument that “Everyone does it, so just give up on the idea of privacy already!”. That argument doesn’t hang together for me. Just because a determined burglar can break into my house even if I keep the doors and windows closed and locked, doesn’t mean I’m going to leave my curtains open and the windows and doors unlocked 24/7.

    I’m glad there are people and organizations that are helping to push back. I’ll use and support those people and products, even if the “convenience” is a bit less, thank you very much.

  6. 11r20 said on September 9, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    I ran away from the ‘Google-Plantation’ 20 years ago

  7. FeatureParityCat said on September 9, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    Vivaldi should enable jpeg-XL support too to reach format parity with safari. The ability to use their own engine is pointless if it fails to support the same formats.

    Odd they havent already, since the JXL patch is maintained by Thorium, kept uptodate against current chromium and it takes no effort to adding it compared to the many patches vivaldi maintains themselves.

    Come on ex-opera founder and devs, you used to be at the forefront of web browser technology trendsetting.

  8. Guest said on September 9, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Responding to this article in case this comment goes astray:

    Firefox + uBlock Origin is still the only logical way to use the internet (for home use)

    1. 45 RPM said on September 10, 2023 at 7:46 am

      Why just home use?

  9. Missingxtension said on September 9, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Chrome and Google just keep on getting worse and worse than Internet Explorer ever was. Using the internet on a fresh install of Chrome is like surfing the web on Netzero.

    1. bruh said on September 11, 2023 at 10:14 am

      “worse than Internet Explorer ever was” there was a time when IE was quite good, I’m not talking 2006 but maybe 2009-2014 I remember using it a lot, even playing numerous browser games through it. It never got in my way or annoyed me as chrome has.

    2. Paul(us) said on September 9, 2023 at 11:56 pm

      Is it as bad as the WorldWideWeb browser? :-)

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