[email protected] Wants to Remedy Mobile Search Pain

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 23rd, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

[email protected] (pronounced do-at) is an impressive take on mobile search delivering you results from multiple sites that match the context of your search in a card like interface and does so very quickly. It is a worthy attempt at remedying mobile search pain and information overload.

At the heart of [email protected], and the key to its innovation, is a method to return results from many mobile friendly sites at once. Once you enter your search query, [email protected] returns a bunch of categories it thinks match the context of your query. Once you choose one, it will return results from the sites that match that category. Those results are returned as full mobile web apps, in a card like interface, not as a list of results. You can then scroll through those site cards and focus in on one that matchs your needs exactly. This allows each site to tailor those results, to match the context you have chosen. This what really sets [email protected] apart from searching in a normal search engine page.

For example, if you search for Radiohead on Google or Bing, or any other search engine, you'll get a list of links back to pages that mention the band Radiohead. It's what you'd expect because that's what you've always gotten. But that lacks context. You might get reviews, comments on Twitter, and YouTube videos all blended in together. But search for Radiohead in [email protected], and you'll get web apps back that can deliver rich results. You will get a tab for song downloads, lyrics, tour dates, videos, etc. And each card will be able to tailor the display of those results to match the context.

In an cloud sourcing type of feature, [email protected] also allows you to connect your search experience to your social graph. This allows your social connections to influence what sites you see results returned in first. If lots of your friends think that Sound Cloud is a great source for music searches, that site will move up in your list. You can, of course, always control this and set your favorite search sites to override this.

In my time with [email protected], I've come to realize that it could, if used effectively replace Safari as my starting point for the mobile web. It's a slightly different way to think of how you get to data on the web, but once you make that change, it will save you loads of time by getting you to the results you want much quicker.