Arc Search: New iPhone Smart Browser Powered by AI

In a significant move towards enhancing mobile web browsing, The Browser Company has introduced a new app, Arc Search, specifically designed for iPhone users. Following the success of its first companion app, which facilitated the saving of links for later desktop use, the firm has now shifted its focus to refining the search experience on mobile devices.

AI-Powered “Browse for Me” Feature

At the heart of Arc Search is its innovative AI-powered feature, “Browse for Me.” This tool, developed using models from OpenAI and other sources, creates a well-organized webpage based on the user’s search query. It comprehensively reads at least six web pages, generating a new page with various sections tailored to the query.

For example, a search for “How to make a perfectly poached egg” yielded a page with sections like “Ingredients and Tools,” “Poaching Technique,” “Cooking Process,” and additional helpful tips, complete with relevant photos and videos.

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Summarizing Complex Topics

Arc Search also excels in summarizing complex topics. When searching for changes Apple made to the App Store in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the browser provided a concise summary, capturing the essence of Apple’s announcements. This summarization ability provides users with a quick yet thorough understanding of a topic, although it currently lacks the feature to share these summaries directly, barring screenshots.

Versatile Searching and Additional Features

Users not inclined towards the AI feature can opt for traditional search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Ecosia. While Arc’s desktop client recently included Preplexity as a default search option, it’s unclear whether this will extend to the mobile version.

Arc Search also offers a reader mode for comfortable viewing and bookmarking capabilities, although it lacks a folder system for bookmark organization. A notable feature is the automatic archiving of tabs after a day to prevent tab overload, with easy access through a tab switcher or a swipe-and-hold gesture.

Arc Search

Privacy and User Experience

Prioritizing user privacy, Arc Search automatically blocks GDPR and newsletter popups, ads, and trackers. Distinctly, it can be set as the default browser on the iPhone, unlike its predecessor.

Design Philosophy and Future Plans

Josh Miller, CEO of The Browser Company, explained the rationale behind Arc’s design. The startup aimed to optimize the browser for quick searches, a common use for phone browsers, resulting in a search-centric interface with immediate access to the keyboard for typing queries.

Arc Search aims to blend AI’s capabilities in summarizing content and creating interactive experiences, similar to Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) or Perplexity AI. It’s a unique approach, combining features typically used for summarizing pages and aiding in content creation.

Looking ahead, the company plans to merge its browser clients and introduce cross-browser syncing, moving beyond iCloud to a proprietary syncing solution. While Arc started on Mac with a waitlist system, it has since opened up for general download, though its Windows client remains in beta with a waitlist. The new Arc Search client is designed for easy access, allowing users to start browsing immediately without creating an account, lowering barriers to entry.