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Vivaldi offers users a 'break' from browsing. No, don't switch to Chrome... don't sw..

Go take the dog for a walk... or crack a book, maybe

Browser maker Vivaldi has made the bold claim that its latest release will allow users to "pause the internet."

Alas, its new "Break Mode" only applies to the browser itself. The rest of the desktop will keep on rocking as if nothing had happened. Thus "unplug from continuous work" only really applies if that continuous work happens in Vivaldi as opposed to, say, that little used app Microsoft Word.

Indeed, the company suggests its customers use the break mode time to focus on "activities outside the browser," hoping that those stuck in front of the screen day in, day out might hit the pause button and pop out to have a socially distanced smell of the flowers.

The pause button, located in the lower left of Vivaldi's desktop window, leaves tabs and browser blank and suggests the user "focus elsewhere for a while".

"It pauses audio/video that's playing," a spokesperson told The Register, "hides pop-out video, mutes tabs and hides the content in Vivaldi." Those seeking total peace might, however, be disappointed since "it will not prevent JavaScript from running or notifications from showing. It will also not prevent new video or audio clips from playing, if they are triggered by JavaScript."

There's always the close button, we suppose. An abrupt shutdown of the browser might, however, bring its own challenges as opposed to the soothing pause and resume of Vivaldi's take on things. As well taking a break from browsing, the company also pointed out that a blanking of the browser would be handy for quickly hiding sensitive information (although anyone who steps away from their computer without locking it merits a special place in amusing wallpaper hell.)

This is the company's first crack at the feature and, going forward, a timer would be useful to force users to take a break. A Pomodoro timer appeared in the browser back in May and Vivaldi's spokesperson told us the company intended to set Break Mode up with it.

The release also adds a new default theme for Private Windows, adds rules to the integrated Tracker and Ad Blocker and highlights the base domain in the URL field to help users spot malicious web sites.

Encouraging those spending all day in front of a screen to pause every now and then isn't a new thing. Tools like Stretchly encourage users to take a break regularly and there are any number of ways of muting an entire OS (not least that handy 'off' button on a desktop monitor.)

Break Mode remains desktop only for now, meaning taking a break from bathroom browsing isn't on the cards. However, "never say never," said the spokesperson. ®

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