The Browser Company feels gross to me right now

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

John Voorhees writing about Arc’s latest escapades in MacStories Weekly: Issue 408

It’s that intermediate layer that makes me suspicious of Arc’s motives. The company is starting to feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a browser with an interesting, playful design on the surface and a dark heart lurking beneath. My suspicions are only compounded by the fact that The Browser Company hasn’t so much as hinted publicly about what its business plan is. Does it hope to become the front end for an AI company’s technology? I suspect it does, but no one knows for sure.

In fairness to The Browser Company, they have hinted towards a business model similar to Notion, Figma, and Raycast where the app is free for most but paid for power users and businesses who use it. Whether that’s viable or not for a browser is up for debate, but they did hint at this before they jumped into the AI ring.

But I’m absolutely with John that basically everything I’ve heard the company say in the past month or two has felt gross to me. And I’m one of the biggest Arc fans and proponents out there! They’ve made a browser on the Mac that’s so good and so well tuned to my needs that it makes using Safari, Chrome, and Firefox an exercise in frustration.

But if you listen to them lately, namely their CEO, you’ll get a message from them that’s more like, “you know what sucks? The web! What if we piggybacked on Google’s search results, which we also say suck but are essential for Arc Search to function, stole every bit of writing other people have made and regurgitate it to you as a few bullet points?” The Browser Company seems to consider the ultimate goal to be people use Arc to ask questions and never see an actual website, they just see Arc giving them all the answers. They show links in their “browse for me” summaries now, but I get the impression they would like to get rid of those if they can.

Is this is how Arc will like to have you read the Bible? So efficient!

Read all of Matthew? Nah bro, here’s 3 bullet points, you get the gist.
Read all of Matthew? Nah bro, here’s 3 bullet points, you get the gist.

Maybe this isn’t what they actually want the future to be. Maybe they’ve gone too hard on their marketing and they’re suggesting things they don’t really mean. I hope they get their shit together and move on from this, “what if Arc took all the value from the web and gave nothing back” phase. I like their desktop browser a lot, but they don’t feel like a company I can root for right now.

Or as Arc would put it: