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Review: Arc search is a truly modern web browser

Developer: The Browser Company of New York
Price: Free
Size: 83 MB
Version: 1.1.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Arc Search

The days of simply Googling something are seemingly numbered. Why trawl through reams of web search results for the relevant piece of information when you can have an AI do the legwork for you?

Of course, many old school types actually enjoy the process of panning the internet waters for gold, but Arc Search makes a compelling argument for a more hands-off approach.

Arc’s custom websites pull together relevant information nicely

It’s a modern take on the web browser app that, whenever you initiate a web search, offers the option to ‘Browse for Me’. Tap this button, and Arc’s AI will trawl the internet and essentially build a custom web page based on your query.

Asking ‘Which country has the most coastline?’ yielded a website with the answer as the headline – “Canada has the most coastline” – together with a scrolling carousel of Canadian maps, as well as facts and figures for all of the countries to be in contention.

Arc shows its sources when building a website

Crucially, in these times of rampant disinformation and questionable early-AI behaviour, Arc Search always shows its workings. The details about the aforementioned coastline are all culled from, I’m told.

Just below this, Arc’s custom web page will show its Top Search results, offering direct links to the websites that supplied the data. There’s a Dive Deeper section at the bottom with links to further reading.

Hit Browse for Me to have the AI build a custom website

These websites are generated remarkably quickly, within several seconds. It’s quite a bit longer than a Google search, however, so the app wisely uses the processing time to reveal some of its thinking process, telling you the six websites it’s checking to obtain your query response.

It’s not 100% accurate, however. One of my test checks was ‘Oscar nominees’, which brought up a list of the 2024 Academy Award categories and the relevant hopefuls. However, the Best Director category only had three of the five nominees in it, while Best Picture only had eight of the ten. Like ChatGPT, it seems to lose details when summarizing.

Arc’s summaries aren’t always comprehensive

Essentially, the data that’s here seems to be accurate and well sourced, but you can’t guarantee that it’s going to be comprehensive. As a result, if I were genuinely researching a topic, I would still want to at least dive further to corroborate beyond Arc Search’s bespoke landing page.

Thankfully, hitting search without the ‘Browse for Me’ option will launch a classic Google search (other search engines are available), so you always have the old fashioned option to hand.

Arc blocks ads by default

Besides its main AI-driven function, Arc Search offers plenty other nice-to-haves: it blocks ads and trackers by default, automatically closes old tabs, and includes a nice-looking reader function. Spaces and Profiles allow users to neatly organize their bookmarks. Themes allow for visual customization. The presentation is suitably crisp and minimalist for a modern browser. It’s also completely free to download and use – at least for now.

Arc Search offers a convincing showcase for the power of AI to make web browsing a much more time-efficient process.