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Žan Černe
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Back to Basics: My Return to Firefox after Exploring the Arc Browser

I’ve been an early user of the Arc browser. There are a few things about The Browser Company, the company behind Arc browser, that are slightly worrying. If you know anything about me, it’s that I love to check out new tech, apps, ideas - I always strive to stay up-to-date and try the latest offerings.

Of course, this approach comes with certain drawbacks such as potential privacy implications, poor user experience, and more. So, when I heard about this new web browser, I decided to give it a try. I quickly learned that this browser isn’t for everyone, however, I stuck with it due to its unique design and the workflows it allowed me to do. I loved that I could rename tabs and create tab folders (a feature also available in Chrome). The side bar position didn’t bother me and some smaller features really added to the overall experience.

Then the issues began to surface. I started using the Arc browser at work and it wasn’t a smooth experience; Google Meet failed to recognize my camera. Multiple times I reported an issue with pinned extensions, which to me is a vital feature, having only a select few extensions always ready for use. Even today, with the release of v1.0, this bug hasn’t been resolved.

I also didn’t appreciate the idea of locking the browser behind an account. Even with v1.0, you still have to create an Arc account to use it. I think there are a few core principles of a free and open internet that The Browser Company just doesn’t have. I understand that to be a market disruptor, trying new things is necessary and I completely agree with the statement that browsers haven’t seen innovation in decades - in terms of UX.

The image above is a creation of my own. Learn more about my approach to AI transparency.

Chrome (and Firefox) have essentially looked the same from the beginning. Some might argue that Chrome’s failure to improve in UX is due to the potential attention loss caused by change. If you were to design a browser (or let’s say a completely different app) where people could get their information easier, quicker, and better - they would simply use it less, be less engaged - meaning less ad revenue in the end.

This is one of the reasons why I appreciate OpenAI’s move towards a subscription model. I happily pay those 20€ per month for a fantastic service, a concept people might have found strange even a year or so ago if Google offered similar pricing for their search.

So, I’m back to using Firefox for my personal needs. I like Firefox a lot - it’s fast, reliable, and enjoyable to use - everything I love in a browser.

My Firefox Setup

I don’t use a Firefox account since I use Safari on my phone and don’t need the sync feature. I’m using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine, but I’m experimenting with the ChatGPT for search extension (not official), which allows me to display ChatGPT results alongside the search results. I’ve modified the extension to remove ads.

I’ve recently learned that this extension was sold, so I might just fork the repository and continue developing it on my own. To be completely honest, that sounds like an amazing side project since I’ve fallen in love with this extension in the past few months of using it. I’ve also realized that the extension is slightly broken for DuckDuckGo, so I will be fixing that as well.

I’m using Bitwarden as my password manager and Raindrop as my bookmark/link manager. I have also installed uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and Matter (a read-it-later app).

My Firefox home is set to web search only, as enabling other features makes it cluttered. I’ve tweaked a few things here and there, but everything else is mostly default.

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