May 26, 2011
Earlier this week, a small startup called [email protected] launched their new mobile search platform. Designed from the ground up for mobile users, the [email protected] system is built around using "apps, not link," web apps, that is. In much the same way Google might display movie listings or local weather, a [email protected] search responds with a series of applets that relate to your query. It's pretty nifty, and definitely worth checking out. From what I've seen of the app so far, the main view looks and works a lot like open windows in mobile Safari; each one has a different purpose and you swipe to slide through them. It's all very intuitive, but if you ever get lost, there's a nice visual slider at the bottom that lets you to jump to a specific tab. Because the [email protected] system's apps are based on the mobile versions of real websites, it's highly extendable and can basically pull in results from anywhere. This is part of what makes it so interesting; essentially, instead of a list, you're being given a group of tabs that are already open to the right places ... no pinch-zooming needed. As an example, a [email protected] search for a specific band would bring up six windows: YouTube, iTunes downloads, Songkick concert listings, SoundCloud playlists, Pandora, an image slideshow, the Wikipedia entry, and Metrolyrics. Pretty much covers it, no? Well, if it doesn't, [email protected] will keep popping up another window every time you scroll to the right. It's an awesome way to sort through things. You can easily "heart" a particular view in order to choose it as a primary source, and quickly remove any sources you're not into. If you haven't found what you want, keep scrolling--every time you move to the right, [email protected] will pop up another new window. It's designed to learn from your choices and favor the sources you trust. Even weirder; it also learns from your social networks, and favors the sources your friends use. It's too early to say how far the [email protected] concept is going--after all, it just launched this week, but the idea is well-executed and very clever. It's already impressed me more than I expected it to, and that's from just a few minutes of playing with it. [email protected] is definitely cool enough to try (it's free and available on the App Store). I have a feeling that this is where search is headed, it's too useful not to be. What do you think? Whether you love it or hate it, give [email protected] a whirl and let us know your thoughts!