Everyone knows what a browser is, in-fact, you're using one right now to read this. Making it the most used software of any category, and thus, the most competitive.
The web browser category used to be far more interesting, back when Internet Explorer was the leader in the space, as it opened up competition from Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
In recent times, the category has struggled to evolve, primarily due to inertia (people are just used to using what they use, and how it is laid out), so change and differentiation of any kind is actually seen more as a negative to many.
Add that to companies like Google getting billions of daily active users and businesses using and relying on Google Chrome, and you're left with a foundational tool that by design, cannot evolve or change, without upsetting the majority of their user-base.
Enter all the tech startups entering the space, trying to make browsers "more productive", like Sidekick browser and Shift, and even chromium extensions browsers/tab managers like Workona and Toby. While exciting at face-value, they all struggle with the same issue: inertia. People are so built to using a browser the way they're used to using them. Tabs and URL bar at the top, bookmarks, and extensions. Deviate from that, and you're sure to not last, even if you do find some innovation along the way.
I used and loved Shift for a couple years on-and-off, and early on, they had to manually port over the chrome extensions, so it never actually had everything I needed, to fully replace it with Chrome. That was the #1 piece that killed it for me, and that's exactly where you'll see the moat of Chrome exists. Pair that with the miscellaneous performance and minor daily UX frustrations, and it just can't function as your primary browser replacement.
This is where a new entrant in the space, Arc Browser, is trying to (and is), shaking things up. In got the foundation right. By focusing on just MacOS out of the gate and a modern native software stack, they have one of the most enjoyable user-experiences of any browser on the market.
Mix that with innovation of re-thinking bookmarks and tab management, you're getting actual innovation in the space, but not in a gimmicky way, but in a way that first got the foundation perfected. Want to simply use it as your browser and have it feel like what you're used to? It works great for that, it just introduces little pieces of delightful user-experiences along the way. Something that is all too uncommon in the browser space over the past decade.
It's actually starting to feel like those competitive days back when Firefox was first launching, and you started seeing actual competition and innovation happening in the browser space. Difference is, Arc is really the only one doing this right now, because they can. Oddly enough, because they don't yet have billions of daily active users (yet). Making this a very exciting time to be interested in the browser space again.
They are re-thinking what it actually means to even be a browser.
If you're deeply into crypto, the blockchain, and care about privacy more than anything else, that's where Brave is more likely to fit your needs. That said, Brave is still built atop Chromium, so while Google isn't directly built into the core, there are hints of it. So how truly private can a privacy browser be if it still has deep ties to Chromium? Not totally sure.
Now to be totally fair, Arc does put a lot of thought and care into privacy, they even have a whole page dedicated to it. So if you're looking for a privacy focused browser when comparing say Arc Browser vs Chrome, Arc definitely wins. It's just when you're purely looking at the most privacy-focused browser on the market, that is Brave's entire focus.
Winner: Arc Browser
On the other hand, if you've been so bored by browsers the past 3–5 years, miss the times back when Firefox was actually an exciting browser, and have had your interest piqued by unique productivity-focused browsers like Sidekick Browser, Shift, or Chromium extensions trying to totally re-think the way tab management and bookmarks work like Workona, then Arc Browser is exactly what you've been looking for, and more, in a cleaner package.
I've tried every browser on the market, productivity-focused and all, and Arc is the first one that I actually feel excited about the space again, and if you give it a shot, I think you will too.
Curious how this app compares to others?
Curious how this app compares to others?