Arc's new iPhone browser wants to be your search companion Tech Crunch

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The browser company launched Arc's first iPhone companion app last year, allowing users to save links for consumption in the desktop application. The company has now released a new mobile app called Arc Search, which aims to focus on the search experience.

The app's marquee AI-powered feature, “Browse for Me,” provides a well-structured webpage with information relevant to a search query. This feature, powered by OpenAI and other models, reads at least six web pages and creates a new page with different sections.

Image Credits: Screenshot via TechCrunch

For example, when I searched for “how to make a perfectly poached egg,” ArcSearch generated a page for me with sections like “ingredients and tools,” “poaching technique,” ​​“cooking process,” and additional tips. The page also has useful photos and videos.

Image Credits: Screenshot via TechCrunch

The browser also provided a nice summary for me when I asked “what changes Apple has made to the App Store in response to DMA.” While it doesn't get all the points across, the web page does contain a gist of announcements made by the Cupertino-based tech giant.

These pages are great for me to get information at a glance and I can also use the “Dive Deeper” section to explore additional links listed for the topic. However, for now I can't share these pages with anyone unless I take a screenshot.

Other features

If users don't want to use the AI-based feature, they can tap on a query to use Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia — whichever you set as the default.

Notably, last week, the browser company announced that users can set Preplexity as their default search engine in the Arc desktop client. But it is not clear whether this option will be available for mobile client or not.

All webpages also have reader mode for easy reading and you can also bookmark the webpage. But there is no folder system to store these bookmarks.

Arc Search Browser archives tabs after 1 day to protect you from tab overload (this is customizable). You can view your open tabs via the tab switcher in the bottom bar, or you can swipe and hold from the left edge of the screen.

Arc Mobile auto-archives tabs

Image Credits: A browser company

In addition, ArcSearch complies with GDPR and automatically blocks newsletter popups, ads, and trackers. Unlike the first companion browser, you can set it as the default on iPhone.

Why did Arc build the browser this way?

The browser company's CEO Josh Miller said in a thread on X that the startup wants to create a faster way to see what most people do with phone browsers. So it started with a search bar in the middle. And it opens with a keyboard so you can start typing a question right away.

With its new page creation feature Search, the new Arc Search browser wants to make you feel like you're interacting with an AI agent. We've seen this type of approach with Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) or Perplexity AI. On the flip side, browsers have basically introduced AI-powered features to help you digest pages or write posts. Arc search attempts to merge these two feature surfaces.

What's next?

For now, Arc will keep its mobile companion alive for save links, but it plans to merge the two browser clients at a later stage.

What's more, the company says it plans to enable cross-browser syncing. Miller said in his thread that as the company begins to ramp up the rollout of its Windows client, it won't rely solely on iCloud. That's why the team is building Arc's own syncing experience, which will launch soon.

Arc launched with a waitlist system for Mac and abandoned it last year for anyone to download. Its Windows client, which is in beta, still follows a waitlist system. With this new Arc Search client, the company wants to have a low-barrier entry point for users who don't need to create an account and start browsing right away.

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