We’re seeing more and more “web-apps” instead of “web-sites”. This change makes a browser more akin to an Operating System running apps. Instead of the original concept of an application that renders markup.
In other words, we’re “doing more things” with our browsers than “reading things” with them. Arc Browser tries to bring some of those OS type UX into the browser world.
Every Operating Systems have some kind of “Launcher”.
Probably the biggest upgrade in Browser terms is when Google made the URL bar of Chrome work more like a “Launcher”. You weren’t any more expected to precisely type in the URL of the page you had to go to. Google would actually prefer it if you first went to google.com and clicked on a link from there.
Arc changes this by opening a Spotlight-like Command Palette every time you hit Cmd+T.
This lets you do much more than just start a search or open a URL. For instance:
This may seem like a radical change, but the fact is many applications have already mapped
Cmd+T to such an action.
VS Code shows this:
Slack shows this:
Window Management in Operating Systems and Tab Management in Browsers have a lot in common. But all major browsers still rely on the same
Ctrl-Tab shortcut to switch to the next tab. Arc changes this.
Spaces is another cool general OS feature that Browsers have tried to implement, but it hasn’t fared well.
Spaces on macOS
Safari’s Space Management is called Tab Groupings. And while this gets synced across devices and is pretty useful if you’re into organising things, it’s almost always hidden away from view. No keyboard shortcuts exist. It’s almost like a way to stash away a group of tabs rather than an intuitive way to organise tabs.
Chrome has an even simpler Tab Grouping that essentially lets you put a label next to tabs.
Arc simply lets you have this small icons at the bottom of your tabs list. Where you can do a Horizontal scroll to switch between tabs. Also you can find tabs open in other tab groups from the “Spotlight-like” search thingie.
Horizontal Tabs are hard to work with if you have a lot of tabs open.
Vertical Tabs offer a better view of the page title. It’s also essential for the scroll to switch space feature
Arc lets you rename tabs. Ridiculously simple. But really useful!
AI Features and Split View
Arc clearly has an idea of how you browse the web and actively tries to enhance it. One day into trying out Arc, it completely changed how I use HN
Hover over links to get a summary. Open in split view so I never lose context of the HN link that took me there.