Arc Search app gets silly 'phone call' search gesture — how to use it

Screenshot from Arc Search ad for Call Arc feature. Woman holds phone to ear
(Image credit: The Browser Company)

If you weren’t aware, The Browser Company has an iOS app called Arc Search. This week, the app received an interesting new update called “Call Arc.” The new feature lets you conduct an internet search using a gesture similar to making a phone call.

As reported by Mac Rumors, to use this new future, users have to open the Arc Search app, raise the iPhone to their ear and then ask a question.

Moving the phone up to your ear activates the search option. The Arc Search app provides answers verbally. 

“Arc Search now has voice-activated search, triggered by holding your phone to your ear and saying your query — just like you're making a phone call. Upon using Call Arc, you'll instantly hear your search results, accompanied by an animated smiley face! You can also click 'Read More' to access full Browse for Me results for each query,” says The Browser Company.

Arc Search already offers Voice Search, but the phone call gesture is supposed to be a fun way for people to use the app and get quick answers.

Launched in January 2024, Arc Search utilizes AI to find and present search results. The browser is fairly simple and allows users to conduct a normal search. Or they can use the “browse for me” feature to get an AI-summarized list of results.

It also features a built-in ad blocker to help clarify search results.

You don’t have to continue holding the phone to your ear as though in a call, but once a query is asked, you can keep “chatting” with the AI. Hold music will briefly play before the animated Smiley Face on the screen provides a verbal answer.

Arc Search utilizes large language models from OpenAI. We’ve seen reports that The Browser Company combines OpenAI’s API with other models, but they don’t specify what other models might be used in the app.

In practice, Browse for Me reads up to six web pages and builds a new page summarizing the found information for the user in the query.

Arc Search is available for free on the App Store and requires iOS 16 or higher. The Call Arc feature is available now.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.