By Derek W.
For almost as long as the internet has existed, browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox have dominated the industry. Although there have been quite a few new, unique browsers that specialize in one area, like Ecosia for the environment, DuckDuckGo for privacy, and Opera GX for gaming, all of which I have tried before, these fresh ideas never truly gained the traction necessary to become household names. However, a new challenger for the throne has emerged recently. Arc Browser was created with the best possible user experience in mind and appears to be successful in its execution of that goal. This week, I dove deeper into how this new browser, created by a company with the incredibly creative name of “The Browser Company” has (maybe) designed the best new browser that everyone should use.
The first thing to consider about what makes a browser special are the new features that no other browser has. I found that every single one of Arc’s features has a clear and useful purpose, meaning that there are no useless, unused functionalities. For example, to help organize tabs, Arc has features such as folders and spaces. Similar to Chrome’s tab groups, folders can help split tabs into different sections. Spaces are like Chrome’s profiles, which allow for the dividing of personal and work profiles, and the seamless switching between the two. For the most important tabs, Arc has pins and favorites. Pinning a tab will move it to a permanent spot at the top of its folder, and commonly used tabs can be favorited and moved to a big button at the top of the sidebar for quick and easy access. This system of sorting tabs gives a sort of hierarchical feel to how they’re organized, with the most important tabs at the top and easy to see. Another great feature that Arc has is the ability to split windows between two different tabs, making it easy to read on one window while also taking notes on a separate document without having to switch between tabs.
Arc differs from most other browsers‘ visual designs in multiple ways. It implements a wide sidebar on the left side of the window instead of the typical slim menu at the top of the screen. This works well with Arc’s features, as the top-down tab list amplifies the hierarchy of tabs, and its breadth gives space for large, easy-to-access buttons. Although I initially thought that this design choice made Arc’s workspace feel a little claustrophobic, I realized soon after that the sidebar can be hidden without much of a problem once I got used to navigating around the browser with keyboard shortcuts, resulting in an even wider window than other browsers. The general aesthetic of Arc is designed to be clean and minimalistic. Its design utilizes rounded corners and simple icons to perfection, giving the browser a cozy feel. Each part of the browser is also completely customizable, from the general theme down to each actual website, using my own personal favorite feature, Boosts. Boosts allow the customization of a website’s font and colors, and can even force a bright page into dark mode (for all the night owls out there). With all of these customization options, I could easily make the browser my own.
Ease of Use
One notable thing about Arc is that everything can be accessed using just your keyboard, which is far more efficient than using a cursor. Every command is intuitive, making navigation smoother on Arc than on any other browser out there. Even when I forget a keyboard shortcut, the minimalist design of Arc ensures that every important function can be easily found on the sidebar, along with its corresponding shortcut. For example, one of the most commonly used commands is the new tab function (executed with the standard command + T). It opens an unobtrusive search bar in the middle of the screen that allows access to both searches and any other tab that is open, making it much easier to get around. Additionally, when the browser is first downloaded, Arc conveniently supplies in-depth tutorials on everything needed to get started, from importing browser data to tab organization tips. I’ve only been using Arc for a couple days, but I’ve already gotten the hang of using its keyboard shortcuts, and I find that I’m even more efficient than before.
I initially picked up Arc because of raving reviews from the members of Gimkit Club, and I can understand why they love it so much. In addition to all of the perks that I mentioned above, Arc prioritizes user feedback over all else and releases frequent updates.It is also completely free and doesn’t sell any browsing data. The sole downside to Arc is that its Windows version is still under development, meaning that Windows users will have to wait. So, will Arc really become the next big browser, or will it fall into obscurity like so many others? I don’t know, but I have high hopes that it will. I have already set Arc as my default browser on my Macbook and will never look back.