The paradox of related computing is how a lot information is made out there to us in simply a few clicks or faucets — but additionally how this ocean of obtainable information can overwhelm and lap over a explicit little bit of intel the second we want to lay our fingers again on it.
Fire up a net browser and it’s onerous to deny it’s one of the best of instances for information work. Yet working throughout a number of browser tabs and home windows can really feel just like the friction-filled, irritating worst.
This is the issue Sidekick Browser is taking purpose at by including a productivity-focused layer atop Chromium that it payments as a “work OS”.
Multiple tab hell? Sidekick’s reply is to allow you to work from inside apps that stay within the browser, fairly than scattered throughout a number of home windows and tabs.
Apps like Slack and Skype and WhatsApp can be pinned within the sidebar in a vertical stack the place you possibly can simply discover and change between them. It additionally has help for a number of logins, granular notification controls and the power to search throughout all these third-party apps (it presents “hundreds” at the moment however says customers can add customized provides “which would function just like a bookmark”) proper from the browser.
And for all these tabs you open up each time you go down an web looking rabbit gap, Sidekick presents a Sessions characteristic that permits you to save them as a collective bundle for simple submitting away — with ofc the power to reopen and revisit once more at a later click on.
The built-in search additionally spans these Sessions so there’s no want to manually scroll again by means of the browser’s search historical past to attempt to monitor down the place precisely it was you noticed that reference to that randomly related little bit of intel you breezed throughout one online day.
“Search across all your apps, tabs and workspaces in seconds,” is Sidekick’s various repair.
It’s additionally tackling productiveness on the technical facet — taking purpose at browser-based lag with an “AI based tab suspension” characteristic that’s designed to enhance on how Google’s Chrome browser hogs RAM by predicting which tabs the consumer just isn’t going to use and dumping them from reminiscence.
“Sidekick is the fastest browser built especially for work,” is its elevator-pitchy promise.
Collaboration is one other core focus with options meant to assist information working groups be extra productive as a unit; providing stuff like staff position provisioning and customized workspaces to help totally different Session, app Sidebar and tabs set-ups, corresponding to for a mission or shopper.
There’s additionally distant configuration instruments for gadget safety; a baked-in password supervisor for collaborative comfort to help groups needing to share passwords; and an embedded video chat platform so you are able to do staff chats proper from the very same browser-based workspace you’re all utilizing.
Sidekick comes with its personal advert blocker and anti-fingerprinting tech too — for a said privateness objective but additionally for an additional velocity bump (i.e. through higher web page load instances).
Also on privateness, the startup’s very public promise is “we’ll never sell your data” (and it additional specifies this consists of “searches, browsing history, or any personal information”).
The enterprise mannequin is SaaS and B2C for now, however Sidekick has designs on B2B — touting a pipeline of business-friendly options coming down the road.
And — sure, earlier than you ask — Chrome extensions are supported.
Sidekick is saying $2 million in seed funding led by KPCB — together with Remote First Capital and different angel traders.
Founder Dmitry Pushkarev has performed and gained on the startup recreation earlier than, in some very totally different areas — having based a DNA sequencing firm (Moleculo) again in 2011, which was rapidly acquired by Illumina.
Then in 2013 he left to discovered one other enterprise, ClusterK — centered on optimizing cloud computing assets throughout a number of cloud suppliers — which was acquired by Amazon in 2016, the place Pushkarev stayed for a couple of years earlier than getting the founder itch once more.
A stint as entrepreneur in residence (EIR) at Kleiner Perkins investigating the way forward for work was the place the germ of the concept for Sidekick was born.
The device grabbed some early eyeballs a few months in the past via Product Hunt — the place Chris Messina was amongst its early followers, lauding the staff for shaking up the browser area by combining “so many components that are essential to finding productivity as a modern knowledge worker!”.
Though Pushkarev was cautious to course-correct Messina that it’s not constructing a full-fat browser to problem Chrome itself (or every other web browser).
“We do not intend to compete with browsers, they are a great choice for browsing,” he wrote. “Our goal is improve the browsing experience for work and productivity — something that, regretfully, browsers cannot do.”
The San Francisco-based startup says it’s now being utilized by groups at corporations together with Microsoft, Dropbox, Slack and Lyft. It has round 30,000 customers at this level a few months after its November 2020 launch, per Pushkarev, who says the staff is usually centered on product (“activation, retention, virality”) at this early stage.
“The typical user is a knowledge worker — product managers, engineers, marketers, a fair number of students. Basically, prosumers who don’t just browse online, but do productive work and utilize communication tools,” he tells TechCrunch.
“During my EIR at KPCB, we thought a lot about the future of work, and one striking aspect of it is that today knowledge workers spend most of their time working in Browsers — a tool designed for Browsing,” he goes on, explaining the genesis of the concept for Sidekick.
“There are some vital variations between how we browse and the way we work, specifically — information employees, spend extra time working in net purposes, with paperwork, utilizing communications instruments, accessing a number of accounts, and having to navigate a huge array of paperwork and initiatives. Unlike looking — which is usually search-based consumption of information.
“Clearly, these are very totally different use circumstances, however corporations who make browsers at present haven’t any capacity to put money into making browser higher for work due to their enterprise mannequin — they’re paid by Google or Microsoft for searches, and any complication of the UX would imply that hundreds of thousands of customers would flip to easier browsers and they’ll lose search income.
“We thought that it’s an unprecedented situation, where 200M professionals don’t have access to professional tools, and that the industry is so heavily disincentivized to build those. As a result, we decided to change this and invent a new category of software — Browser for Work, or how we call it internally — a Work OS.”
So what kind of labor/employee is Sidekick made for? “Online work with Web applications, lots of documents, communication apps, multiple accounts, and different work streams. It’s designer for prosumers and wouldn’t be the best choice for just browsing — something that would be better served by other browsers,” he says.
While the laser focus is figure and productiveness, Sidekick customers can create a number of environments inside the software program — so might make different areas extra geared towards chilling out/downtime, or different functions than work too, to be used at different instances.
While browsers do supply a number of options like shortcuts and different components geared toward growing comfort, Pushkarev argues they easy can’t go so far as Sidekick intends to in honing a nice work setting as a result of their enterprise mannequin is simply too centered on search adverts (within the case of Google Chrome) — or simply as a result of they want to be a extra generalist device for net looking. Sidekick is due to this fact very a lot a “standalone business,” not simply a good set of enhancements any present browser might make, in his view.
“Unfortunately, extending other browsers is not a viable path here, one has to go deep inside Chrome codebase and re-think performance, memory optimization, security, support for multiple accounts, and privacy to build a comprehensive solution,” he says.
One instance of going above and past what a browser might or would do itself is the help it’s constructed for “hundreds” of third-party apps. “The reason we built this support is for better integrations — being able to display and control badges and notifications, integrate with our search, support multiple accounts and add helpful extensions,” he explains.
He additionally factors to the New Tab Page (proven within the characteristic picture on the high of this publish), which is due to launch for all customers by the top of the month and which shows “all documents that work with organized according to type, with human-readable titles, and instant search across it”.
“Without deep integration with these apps we wouldn’t be able to provide this experience and display barely usable browser history instead,” he notes.
On the enterprise mannequin entrance, Pushkarev is assured that SaaS can work — and that Sidekick doesn’t have to monetize like different browsers do (i.e. “through data and searches”) — arguing: “We are making a tool that saves hours to potentially millions of knowledge workers.”
“Another piece of the story is our B2B business, which we are building as we speak, but it’s still in early beta. In B2B, product browsers become a sort of company-provisioned remote workstations, that can be remotely configured and secured according to a role,” he provides.
“This is where the majority of our revenue comes from at the moment, but we are launching our first attempts at B2C monetization in March, by offering a subscription.”