The internet browser hasn’t changed much since Netscape and Internet Explorer. Each browser has tabs, favorites, extensions, back/forward buttons, and an address bar. Almost all browsers are built on Chromium.
Now The Browser Company is re-thinking what a web browser should look like.
Their new browser, simply called “Arc,” is still a Chromium-based browser, but it’s a radically different experience. The new look and feel remind me of other rethinks of standard everyday software.
For example, the team behind Basecamp launched Hey, which is a modern overhaul of email. They said they wanted to keep the internet weird and fun, which manifested into Hey. The redesigned interface and massive changes in how email works make Hey feel fresh and fun. Arc makes browsing the internet feel the same – fresh and fun.
Arc is still in early access, but the invites have started going out to early sign-ups. I received one of these early invites. Plus, they gave me this cool custom card (Header Image).
Below is my Loom video of my initial thoughts:
While there are other new browsers like Brave and Edge, they were just reskinned with a couple of extra functions layered on top.
Arc isn’t the same. The tabs are on the left-hand side with a “discover” section and a “pinned” section. There are also spaces that act and feel a lot like chrome profiles. There is built-in ad-blocking too, but they are not labeling themselves as privacy-focused, similar to Brave. Also, the internet “window” is outlined on Arc – making it feel more like you’re interacting with two separate apps.
Beyond the different tabs and windowed internet frames, there are some other nifty features. For example, they offer a built-in note-taking app that appears as a tab, there is also an easel to draw and make diagrams with, and they offer “powerups” which make favorites become more useful. For example, Google Calendar as a favorite acts more like a widget when you hover over it showing you your calendar for the day.
I have set Arc to my default browser and plan on using it every day for the next month. I will go in-depth on my thoughts and opinions of the browser. The other question I do have in the back of my mind is how are they going to make money? Brave is doing it through ads that have crypto backing, but overall that makes the browser feel kinda gross. I know ads are the way to go, but hopefully, Arc can find a sustainable way to make money in the end.
If you have any questions, tweet me @leonhitchens.