Mobile-friendly search engine Taptu releases half-baked Android app

taptu[UK] Cambridge, UK-based Taptu, the mobile optimised search engine that, in particular, targets touch screen devices, has released a dedicated Android app. The service already offers a generic browser-based version for mobile phones, along with a native app for the iPhone which disappointingly for Android users, appears to be at least one generation ahead.

After playing with the Android app for a short while, I’m also struggling to see Taptu’s appeal, although admittedly I’m probably not the target user.

Aside from being touch-friendly, Taptu touts the ‘real-time’ nature of its search, functionality that it provides through utilising OneRiot’s API, which in turn tracks links posted on social media sites such such Twitter (obviously) and Digg, although the latter’s real-time credentials these days are questionable. Many of OneRiot’s results also come from blogs and established news sites. What Taptu have essentially done is wrap a nice mobile-friendly UI around some of OneRiot’s existing functionality and presented it under a section in the app’s search results called ‘Latest Buzz’.

taptu-androidThe rest of Taptu’s search results seem much less timely, perhaps by design. A quick search for ‘Murdoch’ (as in Rupert), for example – a topic currently doing the rounds – and many of the results outside of the ‘Latest Buzz’ section, although news-based, were days not hours or minutes-old. This could be a reflection of the infancy of the touch-friendly mobile web, of which Taptu’s engine indexes, or a limitation of the service itself.

I’m also not convinced that Taptu provides enough original functionality to really catch on, at least based on the Android version. For my dose of real-time, almost any search-capable Twitter app will do (of which there are many) and Google and the other major search engines provide pretty good mobile-optimized search.

That said, Taptu does provide an additional trick of its own: the ability to easily share links via Twitter and Facebook. A feature that’s present on the iPhone but is sadly missing from the Android app, for now at least. In fact, reading the full list of features of the iPhone version and Taptu on Android seems only half baked.