‘Here’ launches to transform the enterprise web browser into a full workspace and eliminate the ‘toggle tax’

Browser tabs are one of those inventions that started (back in 1998) as a good idea, but which has maybe gone too far. I know for me personally, I’m often rocking at least two dozen open tabs on my browser window at any given time — and even new solutions such as Google Chrome’s automatic tab grouping feature only go so far.

It’s a problem faced by many of the large, Fortune 500 clients of browser architecture firm OpenFin, as well.

That’s why, today the company is relaunching under a new brand name, “Here” and is introducing the Here Enterprise Browser, a new tool designed to allow employees access to all their work web apps and processes in a single place, side-by-side, eliminating the need to toggle back and forth.

“We what we have now is a fully SaaS enterprise browser that anybody could take, deploy within their firm and get going right away integrating, like their apps into a cloud experience,” said Mazy Dar, CEO and co-founder of Here, in a live interview with VentureBeat conducted at a cafe in the company’s home base of New York City.

The new Here browser, built atop Google’s Chromium Engine and as such, already compatible with the web and the vast majority of organizational needs, offers to make users’ lives easier by allowing them to view multiple tabs open at once, simultaneously, without switching between them in a single view — a kind of virtual workspace.

The tabs show up in a grid view, and each one its own fully interactive, fully featured browser window. The user can drag to rearrange them, resize them, and more. See an example of one such Here browser window below:

Screenshot of Here Enterprise Browser showing multiple tabs open at once. Credit: Here

Each tab can preserve its state as you close the window or move them around to re-arrange your workspace, will include whatever presets administrators set in advance for the specific website, app, or content displayed within.

So, if an employee is using a secure business service that restricts copying and pasting out information, that specific tab in the Here browser will have those permissions enabled by default (if the administrator at the user’s company has set it up such).

Little wonder Here refers to these as “Supertabs.”

Each tab can also independently send notifications relevant to its contents in a centralized notifications column, and users can actually interact with the notifications beyond just reading or dismissing them — even entering specific information such as data or text, star ratings, filling out forms, checking boxes, toggling other processes, and more.

Here Interactive Notification Center 1
Screenshot of Here’s interactive notifications center. Credit: Here

How many supertabs can you put into a single Here browser window grid view?

“As much as your machine can handle,” said Chuck Doerr, co-founder and chief information officer (CIO) at Here.

The staggering price of the ‘Toggle Tax’

The convenience that Here promises to offer isn’t merely some “nice to have” perk for employees who use it.

In fact, research shows that witching tabs or focus amidst a multitude of apps and websites poses an immense productivity burden for employees, and this, their organizations.

Known as the “toggle tax,” the issue drains billions of dollars worth of annual productivity losses, according to recent studies highlighted in the Harvard Business Review and Forrester Reports. Key findings related to the ‘toggle tax’ reveal:

  • An astounding 1,200 daily instances of task-switching amongst employees;
  • Approximately four hours squandered every week owing to distracting toggles;
  • Overburdened staff spend nearly two hours daily rummaging through separate applications seeking vital information.

Additionally, frequent manual transfers of data between fragmented systems expose confidential information to vulnerabilities, compounding the negative consequences of the “toggle tax.”

To tackle these challenges effectively, OpenFin, founded in 2010, decided to build a new solution from the ground up capable of restoring order and consistency in complex digital ecosystems, based on research with its own clients.

Built upon a proven track record with Fortune 500s and gov agencies

In its 14 years of doing business, OpenFin has built up a positive reputation and significant client base.

Prior to Here, it offered a virtual, web-based workspace for enterprises allowing them to access the many web-based applications and tools their employees rely upon. However, this solution was offered under a white label, and it was up to each enterprise to architect it according to their specific application types.

Nonetheless, this model worked well for OpenFin and saw the company win 90% of global financial institutions as its customers, including major banks like JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Barclays.

In addition, the company branched out to address government and intelligence clients, namely In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment arm serving the U.S. national security community.

As it did so, it found that its clients wanted a more turnkey solution and one that wasn’t actually white labeled. In fact, employees were often more reticent to trust their own firm to get the tech right than an outside, specialty provider like OpenFin, so the company decided to launch an independent product label — one that went beyond the “financial” implications of its current name.

“We solved the problem eliminating tab overload and toggling,” said Dar. “And we’ve done it in a way that is not just theoretical — it’s from having worked directly within all these different functions at banks, and more recently U.S. intelligence agencies, and contact centers.”

An enterprise browser designed for the ground-up from work

Here Enterprise Browser delivers powerful yet intuitive features addressing specific pain points commonly encountered in contemporary workspaces. These include:

  • Customizable, Unified Supertabs: Users can organize and combine browser and application tabs into dedicated layouts, providing a comprehensive view of information across multiple apps at a glance.
  • App Interoperability: Applications within Supertabs dynamically update, sharing data and context, thus eliminating the need for repeated copy-pasting and enhancing workflow efficiency.
  • Deep Search: A universal search function allows users to search inside and across all applications, with actionable results displayed in one unified interface.
  • Actionable Notifications: A dedicated notification center simplifies the management of notifications, enabling users to triage and act on content-rich notifications without toggling between apps.
  • Full Admin Control and Analytics: Administrators can centrally authorize apps and websites, manage app permissions, and access usage analytics to support audit, compliance, and vendor management.

Through these features, Here aims to go beyond web apps and the basic browser, and even its previous offerings, allowing enterprise workers to have access to all the information and views they need to do their jobs in an organized, easy to navigate interface.

Based on our first glance of the tech, Here seems well on its way.

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