Do tablets need a different kind of search engine? Startup Blekko says the answer is yes, specifically its new app called izik.
The approach Blekko is taking is that tablets have a very different role than notebooks or desktop computers.
“Laptops are for work; tablets are for fun. Laptops are task-oriented (‘what’s the capital of Bulgaria?’); tablets are more exploratory (“what’s Jennifer Lopez doing these days?”),” Blekko said in a blog post.
The company is definitely taking a more lively approach than Google’s typically spartan search home page. “take search for a joy ride” says the welcome page just below the familiar search bar.
Even a first time users is greeted with 4 images of suggestions -- presumably based on popular search results. For example, a first launch suggested Disneyland, US Supreme Court, iPad mini and Lindsay Lohan.
A search for “Steve Jobs” shows a visually rich page of results tabbed by category. The “Quick Answer” tab shows a bio snapshot of Jobs from Wikipedia; "Top Results" shows his 2005 Stanford Commencement; followed by “Images” and “Latest” featuring recent articles about the late Apple founder.
By contrast, using Google’s search app on the iPad for “Steve Jobs” gets some of the same results but you have to tap on separate Images and Videos tabs and go to those pages to get those results.
A nifty UI
izik says it has thousands of categories and the interface seems well-suited to tablets. A vertical swipe or flick shows many more pages of categories and results. And if you flick across a category horizontally you see more and more results in that category (e.g. under News) without having to go to another page.
“Many folks, our team included, find typing on tablets cumbersome. izik is designed to get you the results you’re looking for in as few “keystrokes” as possible,” the blog post said. “izik uses its categories to provide context to your topic (did you mean buffalo the animal or buffalo the city?) as well as surface fun and interesting topics to assist in your exploration.”