Arc is a bold new web browser for Mac

Arc is a new kind of web browser that recently launched for Mac. It breaks free of the conventional tabbed window design with an all-new approach to organizing your internet activity without slowing you down along the way.

The top talent at The Browser Company, Arc’s developers, are taking bold approaches behind the scenes as well. The Windows version won’t be rewritten in C++ as with most Windows programs. Instead, the team is creating a custom toolkit to compile their code in Apple’s Swift language on Windows.

You can download Arc here for free from The Browser Company.

A new approach to web browsing

Graphic of a web browser riddled with tabs and stuff
The traditional web browser doesn’t scale well if you’re a tab freak.
Photo: The Browser Company

Every major desktop web browser has a toolbar on the top with all your tabs in a giant linear row. Safari lets you use tab groups to reign in some of the chaos, but it just leads to switching out one giant mess of tabs for another.

Rather than plaster another fix on top of the same old recipe, The Browser Company has designed Arc with a completely new user interface. After all, the team has some top talent pawned from Tesla, Instagram, Medium and Google.

Arc browser with color picker
Bold colors keep you from getting lost.
Image: The Browser Company

Arc has a unique sidebar design. Your browsing is organized into different spaces, each with a different color for easy identification, that you can swipe left and right between.

Bookmarks and pinned tabs are visible right inline with the tabs you’re freely browsing, so it’s easy to jump between the sites you visit most often. Sorting bookmarks into folders and clicking through them is fast and simple. It’s easy to create split views for comparing two sites at once.

Arc has positive reviews from all kinds of publications like The Verge and Bloomberg, although Cult of Mac has yet to dive deep on it. It’s free to download for Mac and iPhone.

Interesting engineering behind the scenes

No one builds web browsers totally from scratch anymore — the web is just too complicated these days. Arc is built on top of the Blink rendering engine that powers Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, as opposed to Safari’s WebKit and Firefox’s Gecko engines. Blink is often criticized for being resource-heavy, and lately, for serving Google’s interests in advertising and tracking.

The Browser Company made headlines for blazing new trails in the PC world, though. The team wanted to share as much of the codebase as possible across all platforms — but there’s no official toolkit to compile an app written in Apple’s Swift language for Windows.

That is, until The Browser Company started making their own. The Swift Language, though it was created by Apple in 2014, is open source. It can be done — it’s just a lot of work that no one has committed to before. As much of The Browser Company’s work is open source, this toolkit may be shared for all to use.

Arc for Windows is planned for launch later this year.