The creators of the Arc browser for Mac (and, more recently, Windows) have launched a new iPhone app named Arc Search earlier this week. The software “browses for you” by compiling information from many online sources to create a personalized webpage that answers any queries you ask it, as one would expect from an AI-infused product.
That is merely a portion of what The Browser business is referring to as Act 2 of Arc. Additionally, the business has announced three other significant new features that will be added to the browser in the near future.
All these upgrades boil down to one thing: Arc wants to make the internet a little more useful for end consumers by combining browsers, search engines, and websites. The browser that can browse for you is discussed enthusiastically in a promotional movie that was produced today by a number of employees from The Browser Company. The idea is very convenient.
One such feature, Instant Links, debuted today, and the Arc Search app demonstrated an earlier version of the concept. By pressing shift and enter, you can instruct Arc to search for the specified term and open the first result that appears.
There will be occasions when this is useful, but it won’t be 100% effective. Arc demonstrated this by searching for “True Detective season 4 trailer” and then pressing shift + enter. This would launch YouTube’s trailer in a new tab and begin playing the video.
With this application, you may effortlessly obtain various results as well. Following my request that it “show me a folder of five different soup recipes,” Arc generated a folder containing five distinct tabs that I could examine. I also requested three pages of details for each city’s forecast, which included Rome, Paris, and Athens.
I’m excited for Arc to add more intelligence to it so that it does more than just fetch the “top” search result; it’s already rather useful. (As a side note, I noticed that my browser’s sidebar is filled with all sorts of random stuff after testing this feature). I appreciate that Arc automatically closes items daily so I don’t have to deal with that.
Just like an RSS feed, the soon-to-be-released Live Folders feature will compile updates from the websites you choose to follow. The premise is to update that folder with new results based on what a user is likely to peruse. As an example, consider GitHub tagging: whenever this occurred, a new tab would be added to the folder containing the tagged item.
This feature had a short demo, but on February 15th, it will be accessible in beta for more testing. It doesn’t appear like you can just add anything you want and expect it to operate; the video gave me the impression that developers would have to enable site updates via Live Folders.
This makes me think of other Arc features, such as the one that shows you a preview of your next appointment or the most recent message when you hover over a tab in Gmail or Google Calendar.
We will have to wait and see if it has the intelligence to do things like launch videos from YouTube channels you are subscribed to or to automatically drop fresh content from your favorite sites into the folder. (I will update this story if I receive a response from Arc, who I contacted for further information on how this could work.)
Last but not least, this update’s most ambitious and “browser that browses for you” vibe-inspiring new feature is… The business claims that Arc Explore will be ready for testing in a few months. It employs LLMs in an effort to merge the browser, search engine, and site into one seamless experience. When put into action, this seems like a more sophisticated version of what Arc is now doing with its new browser.
A restaurant reservation was provided as an example by the company. The user started by querying for a couple of different restaurants, and the Arc Explore interface returned detailed information about each one. It also included direct links to the Resy pages, where they could book a table for two at the exact time they wanted.
Arc Explore’s superiority over traditional search and result navigation was demonstrated in a separate demonstration. All good demos revolve around soup. For example, when I asked Arc Explore to show me information about a specific soup, it promptly brought me a list of ingredients, detailed instructions, and, of course, relevant videos.
When compared to the annoyance of surfing many sites that are swamped with irrelevant content, movies, and autoplay advertising, Arc Explore is a welcome relief. Naturally, that is contingent upon its returning findings that are pertinent to your needs. However, by conversing with Arc utilizing an LLM, you may narrow your search.
I get it now after utilizing Arc Search on my iPhone; yet, it is no minor feat to abandon my long-established methods of web browsing. That being said, these tools will have to be rock solid when they debut if they are to replace the countless hours I’ve wasted typing stuff into Google and hoping for the best.
However, to disrupt these routines in pursuit of an improved browsing experience is to summarize the entire premise and purpose of Arc. While I expect some of these initiatives to fizzle out and others to undergo significant iteration from their original concepts, I am eager to observe the subsequent developments.
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