Arc browser vs. Safari

Arc browser is a thoughtfully-designed departure from traditional browsing, and I don't use it at all.

I like Arc browser: I like the way it works. I like that they've taken tabs away from us: tabs have sort of become a browsing todo list and were probably a mistake to begin with. I like that Arc has a command palette. Who'd have thought all those years ago that Sublime Text had it right all along? I like that Chris Coyier likes it; I like that Robin Rendle likes it. They're both clever, tasteful, discerning people.

Arc browser, open to YouTube, with the command palette open.
No chrome, no tabs, no omnibox—just a keyboard-friendly, power user's browser.

But I don't use Arc, though, despite really wanting to make it my main browser, because it's weirdly resource-hungry. I don't get it. It's just Chromium with a command palette. But a single tab playing a YouTube video runs the CPU on my 2015 MacBook Pro at like ~12-15% continually; compare Safari at ~5%. What is Arc doing that's three times more resource-intensive than Safari? I get the sense that no one at ThE bRoWsEr CoMpAnY oF nEw YoRk is even in the same building as an Intel-based Macintosh, let alone a machine from the previous decade. Somehow I don't think that Chris or Robin is either. The gap between the developers of the world and the rest of us broadens.

Safari gets a bad rap in tech circles: it's hamstrung by a weird release cycle tied to macOS, and the monopoly it has on iOS is dragging its name through the mud. But the WebKit team have done a great job at bringing it up to date with web standards over the past couple years, and Jen Simmons in particular is a fantastic advocate, if a bit spicy on Twitter. And especially on slightly older machines like mine, it sips battery and delivers on performance. The Devtools leave a bit to be desired, but for general-purpose browsing, Safari in 2022 is just great.

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