Why am I not yet using the Arc Browser?
Arc is one of those apps that has grown on me over the last six months. It’s a refreshing take on a browser. Frankly, until I found Arc, I didn’t think a browser can be this much fun and filled with delightful touches, yet so intuitive.
My browser needs are relatively simple. Ultimately, there was enough friction which pushed me away from Arc:
No iOS App
Lack of an iOS app means there is no way to access history/open tabs on mobile devices and vice versa. Safari makes this super convenient. This is likely to be solved soon as the developers have announced an iOS version is in development.
Unable to autofill OTP Codes
Safari has an exclusive feature which allows autofilling of security codes from your iPhone in Safari on Mac. This is a super convenient feature and particularly frustrating when it doesn’t work with other browsers. There is a third-party solution; aptly named 2FHEY. It’s built on SWIFT, but sadly, it does not work reliably. There are certain codes that are not picked-up while Safari picks up the OTP codes every single time.
Chrome Site Search does not work in Arc
Arc essentially is built on the Chrome Browser, and this why I was hopeful that the Chrome Site Search feature will also work in Arc. This feature allows the user to set up custom searches using a shortcut. Unfortunately, for some reason, this feature works fine in other Chrome-based browsers such as brave but does not work on Arc.
The KeywordSearch plugin brings this feature to Safari. One tends to underestimate the power of muscle memory. This is one of those extensions that, until around 18 months ago, I didn’t think I needed. Now, I cannot live without it.
Keyword Search lets you set up keywords to search the web with any search engine directly from the Safari address bar. For example, searching Wikipedia for information on “monkeys” is as simple as typing "w monkey" in the address bar, searching for eBay listings for “HomePods” is as simple as typing “e HomePods” and searching on Amazon by typing “a HomePods” and searching YouTube is as simple as typing “y HomePods”. Obviously, these keyword shortcuts can be customised to the user’s liking. For example, in my case, the Amazon search is conducted on Amazon.con.au rather than Amazon.com.
The video 👇 provides a good example of the benefits of KeywordSearch:
24 Feb 2022 Update: It just occured to me that I could also use Alfred Search and if my default browser is Arc, this would solve my problem.
I am optimistic.
In the grand scheme of things, I much prefer using Arc. It’s a delightful experience compared to the boring Safari. Web apps such as HEY, Notion, Pocket Casts and Readwise Reader etc. really shine on Arc and switching between these apps within Arc is quick and transistion is fluid.
I will be keeping a close eye on Arc, and I am hopeful, with time, these points of friction will disappear.
To the humans at the Browser Company: