Arc Will Change the Way You Work on the Web

Originally published at: Arc Will Change the Way You Work on the Web - TidBITS

The Web browser Arc has made a larger difference in jaded tech reviewer Adam Engst’s digital work life than any app in decades. Read his deep dive on what sets Arc apart from other browsers.


This is, by far, the discussion and explanation I’ve seen for Arc. I spent a week or so with Arc but couldn’t figure out how to transition my hundreds of annotated bookmarks, and struggled with visibility issues for the sidebar.

I may try it again, but will have to export my bookmarks as html or maybe use a bookmark manager. Even if I abandon many, I have hundreds of annotated image links to manuscripts. I am unwilling to lose them.

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Arc has definitely grown on me, and I’ve found myself using it for an hour or so every day. (“You’re soaking in it,” as Madge would say. Sorry kids, that reference is going to be lost on you.) I have yet to figure out some of its features (both how and why to use them), but I’m warming up to the Easel.

The only thing that has really disappointed me is the quality of the Chromium extensions. I guess I’m used to fewer, but better designed, choices on the Safari side of things. Still searching for a good extension, for example.


Your article certainly interested me enough to join the waitlist.

I wanted to mention that I have also been enjoying trying Edge on the Mac. I didn’t even know it existed until recently when I wanted to try various new AI features.

It also has a sidebar. I wonder how much different it is.

Also, in Edge you can directly edit images.

Somebody in the discussion mentioned importing bookmarks, tabs, etc. This seemed to happen automatically with what I had been using on Chrome (which is still my main browser, along with Firefox).

Anyway, I would be interested in a comparison with Edge for Mac if you are interested.


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What about plugins on Arc?

Simply overloaded by Adam’s article. How do I begin to make sense of it…


How are they monetizing it?


Arc’s concept of tabs is much more akin to to buffers in Emacs. At least it feels that way.

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It’s really dense. Read it a couple of times, then maybe try Arc. I’m going to take a second look at Arc this weekend.

That is actually the first question I ask, and a critical one since the browser offers a window into my activities (a window into my soul might be too much :wink:).

I found these on The Browser Company’s website:

Beyond our team, we’re lucky to be supported by our family and friends, as well as investors who played a role in some of our favorite software companies over the years. We’ve raised over $17 million dollars from a diverse group that includes the founders of Instagram, Stripe, Twitter, Zoom, Figma, and LinkedIn.

There is no mention of funding on the Values page.

I do not mind paying for a good browser; I see that Arc offers good value based on Adam’s description and worth paying IMO. I just hope my data is not monetised.


Really great tour of this new tool, Adam! I am a fan of the super-long TidBITS article format and especially when there’s so much enthusiasm thrown in. Really looking forward to checking it out – I’ve put myself on the waitist.


I really appreciate the deep dive into Arc. It’s almost like reading an article from the old days of authoritative printed computer magazines!


I really am glad my life is not as complicated as Adam’s! I am retired now and mostly concerned with consumption. I have 40 tabs open in Safari, and work through them every morning after reviewing my email. My only “work” is focused on image (digital photo) editing, and that via specific image editing software, and episodic (when I come home with a couple hundred images from a day’s shooting). I can imagine something like Arc would be helpful when you need to separate personal and work environments, but the complexity that Adam faces is probably unusual. When I was working, I had a company environment (Windows - Ugh) and my personal (Mac) environment. Pretty easy to keep separate, and use separate tools for each.



With all that empowerment of in-browser work, I’m surprised if there’s no auto-save for content typed into web fields. Yeah, it poses a privacy peril, but if clipboard managers can be a thing, so can this.

Loss of field-entered text (due to browser crash, inadvertently closed tab/window, etc) is arguably the last major un-remediated data loss scenario in modern personal computing (classic case would be posting composition for online forums and other social media).

Also, I’m wondering how jagged it would be to use Arc when you’re already well-established with Pinboard for bookmarking. Are there any Arc/Pinboard users with insights to offer?

Finally, it might be a nice perk, Adam, if you could arrange with Arc’s creators for paid Tidbits supporters to jump the beta line with a code or such.

For anyone interested here’s some invites - I believe it can be used 5 times then expires

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This sounds amazing! I work with multiple clients so that means multiple gmail accounts, multiple bank logins (some are even the same bank), multiple bill payments - again many duplicates in utilities. I had Safari and Brave setup with bookmarked folders for each client that I was pretty good at using but this makes it sound so much easier.

The only negative I see is Monterey…… my newest-OS machine is a 2014 Mini at Big Sur. And it’s a slug probably because it doesn’t have an SSD.


And 1 minute later…it’s down to 4​:sunglasses::sunglasses:

I have invites too if anyone needs one :slight_smile:

Arc is built on the Chromium base, so it supports everything that Chrome does. I should have mentioned that more than in passing with regard to Split View.

The one oddity is that because Arc doesn’t have a traditional toolbar, extensions appear in a Mac-native menu.

Interesting! I’ve always had trouble finding Safari extensions that do what I want, whereas there are always choices in the Chrome Web Store. Plus, given how many times Apple has changed what Safari extensions are under the hood, I’ve always felt at sea.

Just start reading from the top, when you have time to absorb what I’m saying. It’s 7100 words, so you can’t assume you’ll get through it in 10 minutes. Ideally, you’d be able to follow along in Arc, but that requires getting an invite.

Unclear at this point beyond VC. I don’t have any connections in the company yet, though I hope to make some. Honestly, at this point, I would happily pay for Arc, probably in the neighborhood of a $50-per-year subscription.

Thank you! Speaking as someone who used to write those articles in printed computer magazines, I can say that this is significantly longer, deeper, and more illustrated than anything a magazine would ever have published. I didn’t set out to write 7100 words, but that’s what I felt was necessary to explain why Arc was different, rather than just describing its features.

Auto-save for Web-field content is an interesting suggestion, and I don’t know if it’s technically feasible or not, since there might need to be interaction with the website. The Discourse software we use here for TidBITS Talk does an amazing job of remembering what you type, even when you switch machines, but it’s doing that on the server side in your account.

If I can make a connection with the company, I’ll see if I can score invites for TidBITS members.

Although my situation might be more complex than someone who’s retired would encounter, I don’t think I’m particularly unusual in this regard. Everyone has quite a lot of sites they (should) bookmark and use regularly, and as I noted, there’s power in persistence. It’s a lot easier to see a pinned tab in a sidebar and click it than it is to work with hidden bookmarks and the mixed-up tabs they generate.

Yeah, it’s killing Tonya because I keep enthusing about Arc, but she can’t run it on her 2014 iMac, which is also limited to Big Sur. She’s been working toward buying a new Mac, but this has actually pushed her to start the process of figuring what to get. (My bet is currently on a higher-end M2 Pro Mac mini with a Studio Display, but we’ll see what she decides.)

Here are five more Arc invites for people to use. If others have them, please share as long as folks are waiting. I think they’re refreshed every week.

Thank you…