Rediscover Mobile Search With Everything.me
Mobile search is apparently in need of an overhaul, or so say the guys behind Everything.me, the latest service designed to simplify search on-the-go. Formerly Do@ (or DoAT), Everything.me has been designed to bring you “everything about anything” in a format optimized for mobile devices.
It’s not a downloadable app, but a HTML5 web app that lives online at all times, which means it’s compatible with a huge number of devices already. Google’s existing mobile search UI works fairly well (most of the time) but hasn’t really changed much since its introduction, so is Everything.me ready to steal the limelight?
A Web Page That Behaves Like An App
Everything.me is a web page that has been designed to function like an app. This is evident from the second you visit the website on a mobile device, and performance (on my iPhone 4) is more than satisfactory. In addition to the search bar you’d expect to see, there’s a dynamic background showcasing featured searches and a shortcuts button for quick access to useful searches.
With a tap the shortcuts button the on-screen text and search box smoothly scales to accommodate the extra pixels. Touch the small “i” information button and a panel scrolls down from above with a brief description of the website’s purpose. Put simply, it’s an attractive interface that’s silky smooth and a joy to use.
Everything.me uses searches to bring you localized and relevant results, so the shortcut “social” in the shortcuts panel is simply a search for “social” which yields a plethora of services with links to their corresponding mobile websites. Each will appear as if it were an “app” much like your device’s home screen or menu.
The benefit of this view is that you can see at least 12 results on-screen at once, each represented by an icon and on a mobile touchscreen device this works rather well. Occasionally a browser icon will appear in the search results (it showed up as Safari on my iPhone) and this refers to a relevant result that’s not been optimized for mobile display. Everything.me doesn’t strip the non-mobile web out of the results altogether as this is sometimes the best destination for your search. Each search is also accompanied by a relevant background image, which is a nice stylistic touch.
Finding Your Way
Once you’ve granted Everything.me permission to use your location, results become a whole lot more relevant. Instead of searching for “weather in <your city>”, the search “weather” will always refer to your present location. This is true for all future searches, though I couldn’t find too much to do with it (movie searches didn’t yield local cinemas, for instance).
If you search for something and find it’s not quite what you wanted then you do have an opportunity to refine your result in the box below the main search bar. My search for “Aliens vs Predator” initially detected and displayed movie results, so I tapped the drop down box next to “Movie” and chose “Video Game” from the suggestions to filter results accordingly.
This is where the benefits of Everything.me starts to really shine. Usually this example would resume with a case of me trawling through search results or searching again with a more relevant query, but Everything.me made it possible in two taps.
Concise, Succinct or Slightly Lacking?
Because the service is designed to deliver mobile-optimized or highly-relevant non-mobile sites, the search results can sometimes seem a little lacking. There’s no continuous scrolling through endless results, web apps and services but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The ability to filter results really helps here, and the fact that Everything.me detects appropriate “categories” for your search makes the whole process quicker. Chances are if you don’t see what you’re looking for you can tweak the results to make them far more relevant.
Which brings me on to another point – despite Google’s mobile UI being a bit clunky and stale, I generally always find what I’m looking for within the top few results. Everything.me also generally always finds what I’m looking for, but the way the results are displayed lends way more scope to the search.
It makes it easier to decide where you want to go with your search. Results are displayed in a purely visual way – an icon and the website or app’s name – which often suggests services that wouldn’t jump out at you in a normal Google query. Whether you prefer this way of searching will eventually boil down to personal preference, but as a proof of concept it’s surprisingly useful.
This new style of mobile search probably won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who are fond of Google’s list view with short summary of the webpage. If you’re sick of this tired old design and fancy something a little more visual and mobile-centric then Everything.me will probably put a smile on your face. If you really love it you can add it to your home screen and pretend it’s an app all by itself – now, if only you could replace mobile Safari’s default search with it…
Have you used Everything.me? What do you think? Will you be using it more in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below this post.