April 15, 2024
Ark is building an AI agent that browses on your behalf. techcrunch


For years, Google (or any other search engine) has been the main gateway for people to find websites and other content. The browser company that makes the Arc browser is looking to change this by building an AI that surfs the web for you and gets you results, bypassing search engines.

The company laid out its product roadmap, which talks about releasing a new tool in the next few months where you can tell the browser what you’re looking for and it will automatically crawl the web and present you with relevant information.

In a video released today, company co-founder and CEO Josh Miller shows that users will be able to type something like “reservations for two at the Llama Inn or Kings Imperial” and the browser will return results. Available time slots – which will be available in the coming months. Users can then go to a particular website and reserve a table with a single click.

product planning

The company has also started some of its work. The company said that only some of these features use LLM, but they all work in an effort to “bring the Internet to you.”

Earlier this week, it released a new iPhone web browser app called Arc Search. The app has a “Browse for Me” feature, which reads at least six links related to the topic and creates a new webpage with photos and videos summarizing the information.

Image Credit: Screenshot by TechCrunch

Today, the startup is releasing a feature called “Instant Links,” which takes you directly to a link instead of returning results from the search engine. For example, if you search “Gladiator 2 trailer”, the new feature will take you straight to the trailer on YouTube. It also works on folders, so if you search something like “Apple Vision Pro reviews folder” it will create a folder containing Vision Pro reviews stories from various publications.

Later this month, the company will release a “Live Folder” feature. This will work just like folders, but these folders will automatically update when an event occurs, such as a new blog post. In the video, Miller also shows that you can update filters for folders. Examples include a new story about a topic, or someone mentioning you in the linear issue tracking tool. It seems like a mix of reading RSS feeds and page updates, but we don’t know if it can track changes to a page.

story arc

Browsers typically make money by making deals with search engines, by placing their own ad stacks, or, in some cases, by offering subscriptions. The browser company argues that Chrome and other browsers align to get you to search more so that more money flows in from advertising. So it wants to eliminate the middlemen and provide you the results directly.

Arc Browser wants to change the way we browse the web and get results instantly. It is also trying to use AI agents in a different way by not sticking them in the sidebar to write posts. In October 2023, the company released new AI features including renaming tabs and downloaded files and showing a preview summary of a link.

On the other hand, as the role of AI-powered agents grows on the Internet, the question arises as to how you return value to the publishers and blogs whose content you are fetching and summarizing.

Last year, the company had said in a video that it would never sell user data to third parties for money. But it will explore avenues like Arc for Teams. But he has not made any announcement yet.

There is also debate over how AI selects the “best” results. Different people may have different preferences and the result may not be best for them.

Seeing the rise in popularity of LLM, startups like OpenAI and Perplexity are inspiring people to get answers on their platforms. Search players like Google, Microsoft and DuckDuckGo have also leaned towards AI-powered search. So Arch thinks it’s time to put a new search method in your web browser.

Source: techcrunch.com

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