Recognizing that the tablet search experience should be different than the desktop search experience, Blekko launched Izik (pronounced EYE-Zik) to kick off the new year. Izik is a new search experience built specifically with the iPad and Android tablets in mind using Blekko's algorithms, sans-spam thanks to human curating.
According to the Blekko announcement, the goal in creating Izik was to change search to be more touch-friendly on tablets. The ultimate goal was to remove the traditional "10 blue links" experience from search, replacing it with "a more fun, tablet-appropriate ... image-rich layout."
The vision is clear as soon as you launch Izik. It immediately suggests recent trending search topics in large, visual boxes that scroll with a simple swipe gesture. The experience is simple and clean. The search box at the top of the screen suggests topics as you type.
When you search, results are broken down into categories, like Top Results, Images, Travel, Latest and other related categories that genuinely resemble Blekko slashtag suggestions. Quick Answer boxes answer a query leveraging Blekko's Dynamic Inference Graph.
The app itself is a web browser. When you click a result link, the page will open within the app. The Izik logo becomes your back button, returning you to your results.
Izik also makes good use of gestures as its interface. Some gestures are natural, others not so obvious. For example:
- Swipe vertically to scroll the page to see categories related to your topic
- Swipe horizontally to view results within the categories
- Tap category headings to expand results vertically
- Pinch any box to share on Facebook and Twitter
- Swipe the pinched result to switch between results
Blekko's approach that the mobile and desktop search experiences should be different is in stark contrast to that of Google's. Number two search engine, Bing, also feels mobile search should be different from mobile search. While Bing's approach still hasn't completely removed the traditional 10 blue links, Izik obliterates them with a fully gesture-friendly experience.
“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,” said Rich Skrenta, CEO of Blekko. “With izik, we can use our state of the art technology to dynamically create context for any query in the results themselves, and use a tablet-friendly design to surface them in a fun and easily-digestible manner.“
You can download the Izik app for both Android and iOS 6 devices. Sorry, iOS 5 users, no native app for you. But you can get the same experience at izik.com - complete with gestures.
Local search is a bit lacking. But other results seem just as relevant. As a reference search app, Izik makes for a great experience. In fact, in just 3 days, it's become the No. 1 free Reference app in the App Store and already hit the #49 spot across all free apps.
Give it shot, let us know what you think.