Arc wants to be a ‘browser that can browse for you’

A screenshot of the meeting feature in Arc Browser.

Following Apple’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), there’s been a lot of buzz around the topic of personal context in AI. The latest announcement from The Browser Company, the team behind the Arc browser, ties into that perfectly. Starting now, Arc will automatically detect when you have an upcoming meeting, nudge you about it, and even let you join it directly from the browser window. While the feature sounds neat, the way it was achieved is far more groundbreaking.

Never having to miss another meeting sounds pretty sweet. The feature, shared by Ben Cunningham of The Browser Company, was shown in a short demo video (with an interesting background track choice) tucked away in the browser’s sidebar. The video shows a small calendar icon ticking down until the user’s next meeting. Hovering over it brings up more of the calendar, including several more upcoming meetings. Once the meeting is about to start, it pops up below the calendar, where you can now tap on “Join” to go straight to the video call.

Right now, the feature is only available to use with a single calendar that’s specifically chosen in your favorites. However, Arc supports both Zoom and Google Meet for this, so that helps.

Perhaps the bigger piece of news comes from Josh Miller, the CEO of The Browser Company, who gave a sneak peek at what the goal is for Arc by referring to the differences between artificial general intelligence and artificial personal intelligence. The former refers to how a chatbot, such as ChatGPT, is taught to respond based on data it was trained on. It understands context at a level comparable to human intelligence — but it doesn’t understand anything outside of the current conversation. However, personal AI draws from what it already knows about you to make your life easier.

“I want my current tools to better understand me. To anticipate my needs. To do work on my behalf. To give me five good minutes back every day,” said Miller.

To that end, it appears that this calendar integration is only the beginning of a larger change for Arc. According to Miller, this feature can be easily expanded to include many more websites and apps in the browser. The calendar feature, for instance, is not powered by the Google API. Miller explains that his team “automatically creates APIs based on structured data from webpages and applications. If you can see it, then we can create an API for it.”

The potential here is huge, as countless websites or apps could begin to work together from one browser without additional work from their developers. This is similar to the kind of thing Apple was aiming for with its AI updates — AI that works to help the user as opposed to the general audience. If you’re interested in checking the feature out, it’s available on Mac in the latest update.