How 'Arc' Is Introduced As A Web Browser, Until It Wants To Be 'The Internet's Computer'


Pretty much every web browser user use is either Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari.

There are also Opera, and others, like Vivaldi, UC Browser, and many more. All of them receive continuous updates which make them better and increasingly powerful. So, how can one new browser, a new kid on the block, can compete with existing ones that are much more established.

The answer, is by taking a different route.

The team at The Browser Company was set out in early 2023 to build Arc, a mobile web browser, with CEO Josh Miller making a rule that the browser should not be a default mobile web browser.

According to him, building yet another web browser is pointless, and a huge waste of time.

With big and popular browsers having their own fans, there are little reasons for them to switch to other popular browsers, let alone a smaller browser from a much less established brand.

So here, The Browser Company wants to be build “the internet computer.”

Read: How The 'Arc' Browser Wants To Save The Web From Cluttered Tabs And Confusion

In other words, The Browser Company wants to create an operating system for the internet that changes the way people interact with apps and content online.

Instead of making Arc a 'proper' web browser, The Browser Company wants to bring users' Arc sidebars to mobile phones.

The sidebar in question is the core feature of Arc’s desktop app, and has become one of the main reasons Arc is unique.

Arc offers users the ability to combine bookmarking tool and app launcher and offers a way to organize users' whole online activities in a way that makes sense to them.

"When we did a survey with over 1,000 Arc members," Miller said that “people weren’t like, ‘I really want a replacement for mobile Safari.’ Every single person was like, ‘I just want my sidebar on my phone.’"

And that is what Arc has become.

Initially available on iOS, users must first register their email address to become a member of Arc.

When installed, the app acts like a sidebar on users' phone.

But it's much more than just that.

After opening the app and logging in, the app can immediately populate all the individual spaces users have created in the app.

Spaces in Arc are like pages on a phone's home screen.

Users can customize each Space with its own background color, and its own set of bookmarks and folders.

There is also a 'Recents' area where users can see the last few tabs they opened across all Spaces they have.

When users tap on a link, opening it with the app allows users to browser the web like normal. Swiping down will close the page, and allow users to return to their previous Space.

Then, at the bottom, there’s a search bar users can use to do a Google search, or a quick search across all open tabs and Spaces.

Arc differs itself from all others because it doesn't have any 'new tab' feature, or a persistent URL bar. The only want to keep a 'tab' open is by pinning it as a Space.

The lack thereof, is by design.

The way The Browser Company sees it, users' web browsing activities and Arc are two different things.

The first version of Arc’s mobile app didn’t even have a web view, said Nate Parrott, a designer on the team. This is because the team "didn’t set out to make an incredible mobile browser,” he said.

Arc is meant to be a companion to users' favorite web browsers, not a replacement.

The Browser Company wants it to be users' "mobile companion."

Another way of saying it, The Browser Company wants Arc to be a system for saving URLs, or like a transfer tool, which could make browsing the web and moving between devices an easier process.

All that is required, is pinning up links or tabs as Spaces.

Spaces can also act as a folder for similar links, like YouTube or Netflix, and so forth.

The idea about Arc is that everything on the web consists of links.

From a web article to a YouTube video, a post on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, songs on Spotify and more, they all have their own links, and that they can be directly accessed from anywhere.

All people need, is a client.

And Arc is just a way to organize those URLs, acting as a save-for-later app.

It may look simple, but Miller and The Browser Company hope that Arc can replace people's default browser and to build its whole “internet computer” vision into a mobile app.