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Harshal Ranjhani for CodeParrot

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The Arc browser: A Chrome replacement?

On average, people spend about 6 hours a day online. That's a lot of time spent on the internet, and it's important to have a browser that works for you. For many people, that browser is Chrome. But what if there was a better option?

Since the launch of Chrome in 2008, it has become the most popular browser in the world. It's fast, secure, and has a ton of features. But it's not perfect. Chrome is a resource hog, it's not great for privacy, and it's not very customizable. That's where Arc comes in.

Switching to a new browser is a big deal. It's not just about the features or the speed; it's about the way you interact with the internet. That's why I've been hesitant to switch from Chrome, even though I've been unhappy with it for a while. But when I heard about Arc, I knew I had to give it a try.

The arrival of Arc

Switching for you would not be easy, but I can tell you that it's worth it. Arc is a product by "The Browser Company", a startup founded by Josh Miller. The company's mission is to "build a better way to use the internet." And they've done a pretty good job with Arc.

But why is Arc so special? Isn't it just another browser? Well, yes and no. Arc is built on the same Chromium engine that powers Chrome, so it's fast and reliable. But it's the features that set Arc apart.

Design for the users

This was the problem with Chrome for me.


Arc is designed with the user in mind. It's clean, simple, and easy to use. The interface is minimalistic, with a focus on the content. There are no distracting buttons or menus cluttering up the screen. Everything is where you need it, when you need it.


I really like the concept of "Spaces" in Arc. Spaces are like workspaces for your browser. You can create different Spaces for different tasks, like work, shopping, or research. Each Space has its own set of tabs, bookmarks, and history, so you can keep everything organized.

Arc has vertical tabs, which is a game-changer for me. I always have a ton of tabs open, and horizontal tabs just don't cut it. With vertical tabs, I can see more tabs at once and switch between them faster. It's a small change, but it makes a big difference.

You can pin tabs in Arc, which is another feature I love. Pinned tabs stay open even when you close and reopen the browser. It's great for keeping your most-used sites handy.

Tabs are then segregated into different Spaces, which is a great way to keep things organized. You can easily switch between Spaces with a click, making it easy to keep your work and personal browsing separate.

Enhanced Customization

One of the standout features of Arc is its deep level of customization. Unlike Chrome, where customization can be somewhat limited, Arc allows users to tailor almost every aspect of their browsing experience. From adjustable toolbars to unique themes, users can make the browser truly their own. This level of customization not only enhances usability but also improves productivity by allowing individuals to create a workspace that best suits their needs.

"Boosts" is the feature that allows users to customize various web pages with an extremely high level of detail. This feature is a game-changer for those who want to tailor their browsing experience to their specific needs. By allowing users to modify websites to their liking, Arc empowers individuals to create a more personalized and efficient browsing experience.

Boost Gallery


Another feature that sets Arc apart is its split-screen mode. This feature allows users to view two websites side by side, making multitasking a breeze. Whether you're comparing products, researching a topic, or just browsing the web, split-screen mode makes it easy to view multiple pages at once. This feature is especially useful for those who need to reference multiple sources while working or studying.

Split Screen

Air traffic control

This is by far my favorite feature in Arc. Air traffic control helps you control which window to open specific website urls in. For example, you can open all youtube links in a particular window and all twitter links in another. This is a game-changer for me as I always have multiple tabs open for different tasks.

You can set it up by going to the settings and then to the Air traffic control section inside Links. You can then add rules for specific websites and decide which window to open them in.

Air Traffic Control

Arc Max: AI-Enhanced Browsing

Arc takes browser intelligence to the next level with "Arc Max", a suite of AI-powered features designed to streamline and enhance your internet experience. Each feature within Arc Max can be toggled on or off, allowing for a highly customized usage that aligns with your needs. Here’s what Arc Max offers:

  • Tidy Tabs: When you accumulate more than six tabs, Tidy Tabs automatically organizes them into subsections, keeping your browsing neat.

  • Instant Links: This feature ensures that the top result of your web searches can be opened instantly, saving you clicks and time.

  • Ask on Page: By pressing Cmd + F on any webpage, you can ask a question and receive an immediate answer directly on the page.

  • 5-Second Previews: Simply hover over any link to get a quick preview in a small popup window, giving you a gist of the content without having to open it.

  • Tidy Tab Titles: For a cleaner interface, this feature automatically shortens and tidies up tab titles when you pin them.

  • Tidy Downloads: It organizes your downloaded files by renaming them more effectively, which helps in locating them later.

  • ChatGPT in the Command Bar: Start any new tab search with the keyword β€œChatGPT” to ask questions and get answers instantly from the AI.

Arc Max effectively combines these features to ensure that your browsing is not only efficient but also more organized and responsive to your individual preferences.


Arc browser offers a comprehensive ad-blocking and tracker-blocking feature, enhancing user experience by eliminating intrusive advertisements and preventing websites from gathering data on users' online activities. This feature not only streamlines the browsing experience by removing distractions, but it also significantly bolsters user privacy by obstructing the collection of browsing data.

In addition to these privacy features, Arc also integrates a robust VPN service. This service encrypts users' internet connections, safeguarding personal data from potential interception by cyber-criminals. It also facilitates access to content that may be restricted based on geographic location by concealing users' real IP addresses, thereby allowing them to browse content from virtually anywhere in the world.

Final thoughts

I have been using Arc for a few months now, and I have to say, I'm impressed. The browser is fast, reliable, and packed with features that make browsing the web easier and more enjoyable. The design is clean and minimalistic, the customization options are endless, and the split-screen mode is a game-changer. I love the concept of Spaces and the Air traffic control feature. The AI-enhanced browsing features in Arc Max are also a nice touch.

These features are not just it, there are many more features that make Arc a great browser. Arc isn't flawless, and getting used to it takes some time. However, it is packed with innovative suggestions for how we ought to use the internet, and the majority of them are sound. If you're looking for a Chrome alternative that's fast, secure, and customizable, Arc is worth a try. It's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

Top comments (5)

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

Chrome is a resource hog, it's not great for privacy, and it's not very customizable. That's where Arc comes in.

Arc is also chromium based - so I wouldn't expect too much difference in resource usage. It's a worrying trend that so many browsers are based on Chromium - it gives Google far too much power over the direction of browser technology.

ezpieco profile image

I can agree with that. That's why we must use Firefox! Best browser for developers, of course, you have to download the dev edition to use some special dev tools most probably.

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

I've used Firefox Nightly for many years - desktop and mobile

Thread Thread
ezpieco profile image

I do use it, especially since I am creating an entire social media app that is open-sourced built with trust... yeah advertisement 101, I do have to use multiple users at once for followers features and feed features.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Switching to a new browser is a big deal.

Is it though? Maybe I'm too close to the problem because I switch between browsers all day, but from an end-user point of view they're pretty equivalent.

So far I've been 100% unimpressed with what I've seen of Arc:

  • too many hoops to jump through to install it
  • buggy - the installer on Windows flat-out doesn't let you complete without killing the process and restarting
  • artificial scarcity to generate hype
  • partial privacy
  • it's a Chromium "distribution" so it'll probably get bloated as time goes by
  • since it's Chrome, you're not helping the web by making people write to standards, in fact you're encouraging authors to target Chrome-specific enhancements, and we all know what that means (EEE...)
  • doesn't offer me anything I personally want that I can't do using my preferred browser with the odd extension or two.

Honestly, I'd be a lot more positive about Arc if it wasn't so heavily hyped!