Skip to Content

The author

Scott Malthouse

Senior Online PR Executive

About a month ago I fired up my twitter feed, as is my daily morning habit, to find a tweet from Blekko CTO Greg Lindahl sitting neatly in my mentions column. He was making me aware of their new tablet-based search engine, Izik, remembering that I'd been a vocal proponent of search start-up Blekko from its early days. After downloading Izik onto my tablet, I was surprised to discover that it was nothing like I had expected. Blekko had previously made a foray into the app world with an admittedly clunky search interface. It still had the slashtags (keyword verticles to aid search and "slash spam") but the layout was fairly atrocious. Izik, on the other hand, is clean and…different. By that, I mean it no longer follows the rules that search engines have always insisted on; namely a column of 10 blue links matching your query. Instead, izik presents a list of different categories matching your query in a 'touch screen friendly" and visually appealing interface. What is this wizardry? Izik's motto is "take search for a joyride", which sounds bizarre – after all, search is a task-oriented activity isn't it? It turns out that this may not be the case when it comes to tablets. On their blog, Blekko explained their thinking: "Our research revealed that tablets take on a very different role in our lives than laptops and desktops. Laptops are for work; tablets are for fun. Laptops are task-oriented (“what is the capital of Bulgaria?”); tablets are more exploratory (“what’s Jennifer Lopez doing these days?”)." Tablets sit on our coffee tables, picked up on occasion when something on TV prompts us to delve into something, whether that be sports scores, information about an actor or simply just an activity to while away the adverts. So it makes complete sense for search to be different on a tablet than on a laptop. Izik doesn't just give you some answers to best match your query – it allows you to explore your query. Take last week's Super Bowl, for example. If you were to search for Beyonce's half time show in Google, you'd get some news, some images and a bunch of relevant searches. Do the same in Izik and you're treated to a visual feast with categories like 'Gossip', 'News', 'NFL', and 'Music' on top of the regular 'Top Results'. The creators of Izik know that you do not necessarily want to find an exact search about the half time show, but you want to just explore the things people are saying about it. Furthermore, each category preview opens up into a Pinterest-style layout, making touch manipulation easier than tapping a text link. You can also make various swiping motions to accomplish different actions. Right now, Izik is in its infancy. It's certainly nowhere near as powerful as its larger search rivals, with some more specific searches returning very little, but it's the first search engine to get in the mind-set of a tablet user specifically – which is a huge innovative step forward. With future updates, could we start to see a whole new search engine war using the tablet as a battleground? Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you used Izik? If so, what do you think about it?

About a month ago I fired up my twitter feed, as is my daily morning habit, to find a tweet from Blekko CTO Greg Lindahl sitting neatly in my mentions column.

He was making me aware of their new tablet-based search engine, Izik, remembering that I'd been a vocal proponent of search start-up Blekko from its early days.

After downloading Izik onto my tablet, I was surprised to discover that it was nothing like I had expected.

Blekko had previously made a foray into the app world with an admittedly clunky search interface. It still had the slashtags (keyword verticles to aid search and "slash spam") but the layout was fairly atrocious.

Izik, on the other hand, is clean and…different. By that, I mean it no longer follows the rules that search engines have always insisted on; namely a column of 10 blue links matching your query. Instead, Izik presents a list of different categories matching your query in a 'touch screen friendly" and visually appealing interface.

What is this wizardry? Izik's motto is "take search for a joyride", which sounds bizarre – after all, search is a task-oriented activity isn't it?

It turns out that this may not be the case when it comes to tablets. On their blog, Blekko explained their thinking: "Our research revealed that tablets take on a very different role in our lives than laptops and desktops. Laptops are for work; tablets are for fun. Laptops are task-oriented (“what is the capital of Bulgaria?”); tablets are more exploratory (“what’s Jennifer Lopez doing these days?”)."

Tablets sit on our coffee tables, picked up on occasion when something on TV prompts us to delve into something, whether that be sports scores, information about an actor or simply just an activity to while away the adverts. So it makes complete sense for search to be different on a tablet than on a laptop.

Izik doesn't just give you some answers to best match your query – it allows you to explore your query. Take last week's Super Bowl, for example. If you were to search for Beyonce's half time show in Google, you'd get some news, some images and a bunch of relevant searches. Do the same in Izik and you're treated to a visual feast with categories like 'Gossip', 'News', 'NFL', and 'Music' on top of the regular 'Top Results'.

The creators of Izik know that you do not necessarily want to find an exact search about the half time show, but you want to just explore the things people are saying about it.

Furthermore, each category preview opens up into a Pinterest-style layout, making touch manipulation easier than tapping a text link. You can also make various swiping motions to accomplish different actions.

Right now, Izik is in its infancy. It's certainly nowhere near as powerful as its larger search rivals, with some more specific searches returning very little, but it's the first search engine to get in the mind-set of a tablet user specifically – which is a huge innovative step forward.

With future updates, could we start to see a whole new search engine war using the tablet as a battleground? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Have you used Izik? If so, what do you think about it?