Exploring Arc: The Next Big Thing in Web Browsing for Mac & iOS

After two years in closed and open betas, a brand-new web browser, called Arc, is now available for Mac and iOS.

We don’t see new web browsers very often.

Google Chrome dominates so much of the browser market share that it seems almost pointless to try and even compete for that.

However, the team at Arc was not to be deterred.

What is Arc?

Arc is a web browser that aims to offer a new way of using the internet. It’s developed by The Browser Company, a startup founded by former Facebook employees Josh Miller and Hursh Agrawal.

Arc is based on the Chromium engine, which means it supports Chrome extensions and features. However, Arc also introduces some unique features of its own, as you will see below.

Arc is currently available for Mac and iOS users, and a Windows version is expected to launch in late 2023.

Features of Arc

Arc has most, if not all, of the features you would come to expect from a modern desktop web browser. You can have tabs, pinned tabs, profiles, extensions, and themes.

However, Arc encourages you to try new ways of working on the web. For instance, in the Mac version, you can drag any tab on top of another tab to create a split screen view.

Safari on the iPad lets you do that, but I can’t think of many other desktop browsers that do that.

Then there are Spaces, which are just like Spaces on the Mac, except in a web browser. You group like tabs together in a space and switch between them as you move from one context to another. Tabs can be dragged from one space to another, and spaces can have profiles associated with them.

Tabs, spaces, bookmarks, and even the address bar, are all accessed from the sidebar, which can be collapsed to give an immersive full-screen view that is unlike anything I have seen in a web browser before.

It takes a little while to get used to not having a row of tabs and an address bar at the top of the screen. However, sometimes it can be nice to block out those distractions and focus on what is right in front of you.

Boosts are another interesting addition. They let you customize the look and feel of any website you visit. You can give a website a new color scheme, or change the font and font size.

You also have the option to “zap” elements you would rather not see. If you don’t like the footer? Zap it. Want to hide that sign-in box? Zap it. With Boosts, the web is now yours to command.

So, in terms of features, there is a lot to like here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0jMmiCS8oQ?feature=oembed]

Arc Privacy Policy

I was pleased to see that Arc was built with privacy in mind. This is always something I look for in a new online service.

The company has three core tenants to their privacy policy. All of which are refreshing to read:

  1. We don’t know which websites you visit
  2. We don’t see what you type into your browser
  3. We don’t sell your data to third parties

You can read the rest of the privacy policy here, but in my book, those are among the top three things that I look for in a web browser.

Final Thoughts

I haven’t switched to Arc as my default browser yet. I’m still using Brave for most things. However, the more I use Arc, the more I like it.

The problem I have right now is muscle memory. I have a lot of browser habits to unlearn before I can be as productive on Arc as I can on Brave. It’s not a huge shift in terms of navigating the internet, but it is different, and it will take some time to get used to.

Have you tried Arc yet? I would be curious to hear what you think about it.

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