Everyone has probably experienced something like this when using a browser:There are countless tabs in the browser, all of which are crowded together. When you want to find useful tabs, you can’t find them. The mouse flies around and switches back and forth between different pages and functions…
In the past, when only mainstream browsers such as Chrome were selected, users could only find reasons from themselves, such as urging themselves to develop good browsing habits and close unnecessary tabs in time, and to organize better bookmarks from time to time, etc. .
But have you ever thought that this may not be a user’s problem, but that the browser itself may be able to do better?
Recently, a brand new browser product named Arc was launched. Although the product is only open for trial in a small area, it has received a lot of praise from the whole network.Judging from the feedback, almost everyone has a common understanding: “This is an imaginative and revolutionary product, which is likely to subvert the way people use browsers in the future.”
It was launched by a company called The Browser Company, dedicated to innovating browsers. On The browser company’s official website, they write: “We believe browsers can do more. We’re imagining a browser that can think as fast as we do, share the work for us, and push our creativity forward. advance.”
“Arc is a browser designed for the way we use the web in 2022, and we hope it will be the foundation of how people use the Internet in the future.”
Use “iPhone thinking” to transform the browser
Unlike some browser products in the past, Arc is not only trying to improve the browser on some functions such as scalability and privacy, but also trying to completely reinvent the browser. Among them, some “iPhone thinking” can be seen both in terms of aesthetic design and functional logic.
So, how to transform it? Let’s start with the most intuitive user interface.
Personalized sidebar design
Unlike our current browsers that display vertically,One of the most important changes in Arc is the use of sidebars in the window, a completely different way to manage what we see in the browser in the past.
Arc is essentially the core of Chrome. Users can seamlessly import data and plug-ins from Chrome Safari, Firefox, Edge and other browsers into Arc, but the presentation of information is no longer the simple stacking of the past.
The entire sidebar is divided into 4 areas. At the top of the left side of the sidebar is the “Favorite” area, which can store some of the most frequently used websites. Currently, it can store up to 8 websites.
Below Favorite is the Pinned tabs area,Commonly used tags can be classified and managed by creating different custom folders. It also allows you to find the pages you need to use in different scenarios very conveniently and intuitively.
Below the pinning area is the Explore Tab area, also called the temporary tab area, which is mainly used to store the tabs opened and used on the day.But unlike previous browsers where tabs piled up and piled up, Arc has a requirement that each tab will automatically close after a certain period of inactivity. The system defaults to 12 hours, and you can also manually change the time, but the longest is no more than one week。
The tag that was automatically closed is not no longer found, but is automatically archived by Arc to a place similar to the recycle bin, called Archive (archive). Similar to the deleted album on the iPhone, you find these closed tabs by date, name, etc., and you can choose to preview, restore or permanently delete.
Finally, at the bottom of the sidebar is Personal Space and Tool Management. Library is used to store browsing screenshots, documents, desktop files and other files, and also supports the use of a series of built-in tools (this will be highlighted later).
In addition to the design of the sidebar, from the perspective of the entire page setting, the browser theme color can be freely selected by the user, and the category management of all tags can be added directly by dragging and dropping.
Introducing the Space function
It is worth mentioning that Arc also introduces the concept of space (workspace) in the browser to help users better divide and manage life and work.
For example, users can set two spaces for work and personal matters. Different spaces have different pin tags and daily tags, but they can also share commonly used favorite tags and personal spaces.
The switching method of Space is similar to the background application on the iPhone. Each Space can be set with an independent name, icon and color, which is convenient for users to distinguish and call.
Arc’s workspace, picture from Arc
By clicking the Space name in the personal space section at the bottom of the sidebar, the user can enter the workspace to create, select and switch freely.
Flexible window cutting system
After talking about the functional area, let’s take a look at another major part of the browser – the window.
In Arc, since the upper tab bar is integrated into the left side of the screen, and the user can also choose to hide the sidebar, so that the entire window space is released, and the user’s attention can be more focused on the displayed content.
The entire screen can be divided into one, two or even multiple screens by the user according to the size of the screen, which is convenient for users to compare and view. A window can display tabs in different spaces, and closing a window will not cause any tabs to be closed.
In addition, when the user switches to another desktop, Arc will automatically change the currently playing video into a picture-in-picture mode and float it to the current desktop. The entire window management is very flexible and user-friendly.
In addition to the changes in the user interface mentioned above, we will focus on the browser function of Arc. To put it simply, there are basically all Arc that browsers can implement in the past, and more productivity-enhancing functions have been expanded on this basis.
Currently,Arc has built-in several material collection and management tools including notes (Note), drawing board (Easel) and screenshot (Capture). It feels like these functions have been built into the built-in functions of iPhone and iPad in recent years and the concepts of productivity tools such as Miro and Notion.
For example, its Notes function is to help you quickly open a blank page and write down the content. This blank page also has its own URL, so after recording, users can directly save it in a pinned file or send it to others.
Drawing board (Easel) is similar to the whiteboard tool that has been very popular in recent years, and its hidden function is very powerful. Users can not only write, draw or add pictures or videos on it, but also use the screen capture function to replace screenshots and videos with real-time versions of any webpage, and click on the picture or video module to automatically jump to this page.
All modules can be dragged and combined freely, and real-time views of multiple websites can be presented in one sketchpad. Each artboard can also be shared and collaborated with others.
In addition, Arc also has many built-in shortcut keys. For example, when opening a tab, the user can use the Command+T command to open a dialog box. In addition to supporting search browsing history and pinning URLs, the dialog box also supports calling the browser Various functional commands within.
Generally speaking, from the current design of Arc, we may be able to see its ambition for the browser, which is more concise, beautiful and humanized in design, and more powerful in function and scalability.Its goal is to build the browser into a lightweight online operating system, use various web pages as applications, and gradually build a full-platform ecosystem.
The road to changing users is still long
Of course, Arc’s current evaluation feedback is not all advantages.
First of all, due to the large number of built-in functions in the browser, Arc is bulky and takes up a lot more resources than ordinary browsers when running.
In addition, plug-ins are the most important part of browsers in recent years, but there is no centralized place on Arc. also,Many people think that functions such as Note and whiteboard can be better done by third-party plug-ins, but in fact, there is no need for a browser to do this.
The last is the design of the sidebar, so that users who are accustomed to operating on the vertical field of view need a certain amount of time to adapt. At the same time, some operations on the sidebar, such as hiding and calling the search bar, can only be performed with shortcut keys, which puts higher requirements on users and is not suitable for the positioning of browsers for all ordinary users.
In addition to the browser itself, from the company’s perspective, Arc’s business model is still not very clear.
In fact, the first prototype of Arc was launched in 2019, but it is still under slow update and internal testing in the past few years.As a browser product for everyone, whether there will be a charging plan in the future, and if so, in which links will be charged, and how it will be priced is a question that everyone is curious about.
According to public information, Arc’s core members include former design directors from companies such as Tesla and Medium, and it has only raised two small-scale financings so far. The whole company is still in a relatively mysterious state, and Arc’s trial quota is also released from time to time, giving people a feeling of still holding the pipa half-hidden.
In general, regardless of whether Arc will be successful in the future, at least it has brought the reform of the browser into the attention of more people and provided some creative solutions.
It also makes more people realize that when all software functions are desperately changing forward, the browser that shows us everything should not stand still.