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

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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.

  • http://littleworldgifts.com Jonathan Deamer

    “Almost any search-capable Twitter app will do” – good point and I think this is true of many real-time search-related services doing the rounds at the moment, mobile or otherwise.

    Also, I’m yet to be convinced that any real-time search that doesn’t take advantage of your social graph in some from will really be useful in the long term; this seems to be a good way of preventing information overload and maximising signal to noise.

  • James

    I’m sorry, but who the fuck gave them nearly £10 mil finding to do that!??!

  • http://craigdeakin.com/ deakaz

    Very interesting, its always a good idea to release a web app or product early, instead of trying to perfect it. Then you can develop and improve from what you learn from the users.

  • http://blog.taptu.com Jason Harris

    Thanks for reviewing.
    We realize that our Android app is missing a few features compared to our iPhone App – these will be added very soon. As we point out on our blog/ release info – this is a “light app” and we wanted to get it out, then refine as we get feedback and usage.

    And unfortunately, we’ve had a wee problem with our news crawlers today and so your search for Murdoch didn’t show Touch Friendly news sites (or indeed us) in the best light.

    Follow us going forward to see what kind of treats we have coming out soon.

  • Jabba

    Give me your funding. Blueerrgggkk!

  • http://usjohn123 usjohn123

    New Year wishes to all our members.

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/11/09/mytaptu-arrives-to-take-on-flipboard-and-pulse-in-the-touch-aggregator-stakes/ My Taptu arrives to take on Flipboard and Pulse in the touch aggregator stakes

    […] all honesty it’s a while since heard from Taptu. Last year they released an Android and then an iPhone app last year for search, and in 2008 secured a £6.45m series B financing. But […]

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