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The Arc browser sounds interesting, but I can’t tell how it’ll make its money

I’ve read a couple of glowing reviews of the new Arc browser. So, naturally enough, I thought I’d take a look.

Alas, I can’t simply download Arc, despite its invitation to “Try it for yourself”. No. Instead, I’ll have to provide the makers of Arc – whoever they are – with my email address and wait until my “spot is ready and waiting”. I guess my name’s not down I’m not coming in.

Still, according to the page’s title, I’m going to “Help us build a better internet”, which is nice.

(Also: using Typeform for the form? You can build a cutting edge browser, but you can’t mark up an accessible form?)

Chris Coyier refers to Chrome’s fundamental problem: it exists to feed Alphabet’s bottom line. Its good or bad UX ultimately results from that purpose. It’s great that a browser can look at the experience from a new angle, but the question remains: what’s the motivation behind the company and how will it pay the bills?

You have to have an Arc account to use Arc. That feels a little forceful, but I get it. At some point, this company is going to have to make money, and I’m sure it’s going to have something to do with having an account.

I feel that “something” is doing some heavy lifting. As far as I know, The New York Browser Company will have to make money by either charging for its product (which is fine) or by monetising its users’ data (which isn’t).

There’s nothing on the company site about its financial model. Lots of stuff about intensity and folksy tales of driving with one’s father, though. There is a list of its investors:

We’ve raised over $17 million dollars from a diverse group that includes the founders of Instagram, Stripe, Twitter, Zoom, Figma, and LinkedIn.

Hmm. Them again.

At a time when we’re questioning the whole financial model of the internet and experimenting with not-for-profit, ground-up alternatives, I think these are important questions. The browser is the software through which we experience the internet – its manufacturers have incredible power. I’d be more comfortable if Arc wasn’t trying to hook me with tacky marketing and told me how it’ll make its money.