Izik Tries Something New With Web Search On iOS [Review]

More pictures, more finger-friendly

More pictures, more finger-friendly

Izik is a new web search app from the makers of Blekko, a web search engine for people who are looking for a change from Google.

You could be forgiven for saying “Blekwhat?” there. Although it’s been around for a few years now, Blekko isn’t what most people think of when they go looking for somewhere else to search.

But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it without trying it. Blekko does search pretty well in your browser, and this app is a decent attempt to do search differently on your iPad too.

Enter a search term and Izik quickly pulls in results under various headings, building up a larger page which you can navigate through using in-page navigation buttons that appear at the bottom.

These will vary depending on what you’re searching for. Enter “iPad” as your search term, and Apple will appear as one of the options. Search for “Disneyland” and the categories change to things like “Amusement Parks”, “Travel” and “Hotels”. Makes sense, and is presumably based on the Blekko’s larger aggregated search database working behind the scenes to sort things for you as you go along. These sections work similarly to the website’s “slashtags”, automatic search-narrowing tools that you can type along with your query.

Your results instantly categorized

Your results instantly categorized

There’s usually a “Quick Answer” section at the top of your results, which tries to explain your search term at a glance. In my tests the Quick Answer almost always turned out to be the Wikipedia answer, which might be a good or a bad thing depending on your point of view.

Each sub-section scrolls sideways with a finger swipe, similar to browsing the App Store. I’m not convinced that this is always the best way to explore long lists – generally I find it annoying in the App Store – but it mostly works here. Pinch out on each result and it expands. Flick to the side to go through all your results in order in this expanded view.

Any search result can be shared to social networks easily, but you can’t save images directly to your Camera Roll. (There’s a workaround: open them in Safari and save them from there.)

It’s an interesting new take on an old idea, but doesn’t have the slickness (or the speed) of some of its better-known rivals. I wish the expanded results view showed you more, and it would be nice to see more options for saving and sharing content – you can’t even email stuff from inside Izik. It’s also odd, in my view, to give Izik a separate name, brand and visual identity from its web counterpart.

UPDATE: This article has been edited to make clear that the search sections shown in the app are an implementation of the web version’s slashtags.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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