Vivaldi update unleashes the ‘Cookie Crumbler’ to simply block any services asking for consent (sites may break) • The Register


The latest release of Chromium-based browser Vivaldi has extended ad blocking to handle cookie warning dialogs and sent a shot across the bows of Google’s ad technology, FLoC.

That first bit will appeal to anyone tired of the cookie dialogs and banners that have popped up in websites as a result of regulation. While the aim of the questions is noble, for users it can be annoying and can leave them preferring to hit the Accept All button rather than wading through what can sometimes be pages of options to turn off every setting.

Vivaldi’s take is to add cookie warnings to its ad blocking sources. Once enabled, the “Cookie Crumbler” simply blocks the service asking for consent or hides the dialog.

It is an interesting approach. It is also not enabled by default – handy, because we came across a few websites that took great exception to a lack of cookie consent. Vivaldi noted as much: “Some sites may not let you in at all and may not work as you expect them to as they actually require cookie consent for some functionality.”

It also admitted: “This is not a perfect solution, as there will be a few websites that use other tactics to obtain cookie consent.”

And, to be fair, there are some good reasons why a website might want to use cookies in order to function rather than just for commercial and tracking purposes. Hence the requirement for the user to make the decision to turn the functionality on (and add favoured sites, like The Reg, to the exception list).

The setting lurks in the ad-blocking sources. Should things go well, there is every chance it might be enabled by default in a future version.

FLoC moved from naughty step to blacklist

The new version also makes good on the company’s threat to block Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) component, which is Mountain View’s take on ad personalisation in a post-third-party cookie world. It’s safe to say that browser makers have not been keen on the idea. Up until now, Google’s FLoC experiment had been “prevented from working by not setting the hidden settings that it needed in order to run” in Vivaldi.

Today’s release ups the ante somewhat and shunts the FLoC component to Vivaldi’s blacklist. “This means it will not be downloaded and will be removed if it has already been downloaded,” the company said.

The release also features some light polishing to the user interface and some tweaks to bookmark functionality. However, it is the built-in cookie popup blocker that makes it worth a test drive, just to see what happens if you did indeed say no to all those pleadings from sites around the web. ®

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