New search tool aims for better tablet experience

More visual and touch oriented

As we use more touch devices, it makes sense that developers would try to deliver a new search experience and that's what izik, a new search tool from blekko for Android and iOS devices, attempts to do.

Instead of using a text-based set of links, it takes advantage of the fact that it's a touch device and provides a more visual search experience. Users can touch and swipe to see more results in a much more intuitive, tablet-like fashion.

The interface presents you with some popular search choices of the moment. In the video demo, they include exercise plans (because it's a new year), college football, Kate Middleton, iPad Mini and Disney Land--all important categories, for sure.

After choosing a predefined category or entering a more general search term, which is the way most people are likely to work,  izik presents you with the results, first summarizing your search then giving you a highly visual set of top results and images. You can see different results by touching one of the facets at the bottom the screen, which for the video iPad Mini example include Latest, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Gadgets and so forth, and you can shift among these easily with a touch.

You can see results not visible on the screen by swiping right or left ,or up and down, in a very natural tablet fashion.  

Rich Skrenta, CEO of blekko, explained in a statement that tablet users need more than a list of links. "Because of the limitations on typing on a tablet, combined with the search-and-explore mentality of tablet searchers, tablet queries tend to be short and the paradigm of 10 blue links as search results doesn't make sense on these devices," he said.

We are starting to see search engines look for new ways to input search terms. Certainly using voice is another way, but izik doesn't just attack the issue of input, it finds new ways to display and interact with the results that just work better on a tablet.

The search engine is more than a pretty face, however. It also takes advantage of a sophisticated semantic database under the hood that according to blekko " algorithmically maps queries into thousands of categories."

In addition, blekko actually still uses human curation to remove Spammy links from the search results (although who knows how they keep up in this day and age of billions of web pages).

The video below illustrates the new search tool:

izik: take search for a joy ride from blekko on Vimeo.

For more information:
- see the blekko press release

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