The History of Search and How Quixey is Shaping the FutureJuly 23rd, 2012 | Posted by in Functional Search | Functional Web | Uncategorized
Remember when finding what you were looking for on the web was like winning the lottery, those not-so-long-ago days before “Google” became a verb? Today, finding an app can be frustrating just like web search used to be. At Quixey, we think we’ve built a solution. What Google did for the web, Quixey is doing for app search.
In the early days of the web, the curious web surfer had the choice between using a keyword-based search engine that delivered low quality results and browsing a directory where links were curated and organized by topic; one was inaccurate, the other tedious. Keywords were far too simple a measure of search relevancy to be effective and directories couldn’t possibly keep up with the explosion of content on the web.
Today, the app ecosystem is organized much like the directories of old. App stores categorize apps by topic and offer basic keyword search. Finding apps like this is tedious and inaccurate. What can we learn from the development of information discovery on the web that might be applicable to app discovery?
The directory model fit the web in the early 1990s when the number of reputable sites on a given topic was still reasonable. When Yahoo! was founded in 1994 and built one of the best directories of its day, there were only about 10,000 websites total. The world wide web was small. But directories maintained by real people don’t scale well and as the web continued to expand, the model collapsed under its own weight.
By 1998, the web had surpassed one million sites. The directory model couldn’t keep up. Enter Google. Larry Page and Sergey Brin recognized that the web had an underlying structure that could be leveraged to provide accurate search results. By mapping the way web pages were linked together and quantifying the relative value of those links, they created an entirely new way to find information on the web, one that was accurate and scalable. This was revolutionary. The potential of the web to provide useful information on just about any topic, whenever you need it, had finally been unlocked.
What Google did for web search, Quixey is doing for app search. In 2011, the total number of mobile apps surpassed one million. This was the tipping point. Just as the directory model for the web collapsed when it reached one million sites, app directories are collapsing under their own weight. There are simply too many apps to be organized in a directory.
At Quixey, we believe we’ve found the answer. Our approach moves beyond the directory model of app discovery and towards an approach that finds apps based on the simple question, “What do you want to do?” To answer this question, we’ve identified and leveraged the underlying structure to the app ecosystem, what we call the Functional Web. Every time an app is talked about on the web, in blog posts, reviews, comments, etc, a contextual relationship is created between the app and some type of description. These relationships can be mapped to provide an accurate picture of what that app actually does. We’ve also mapped how these apps relate across platforms, so you can find what you’re looking for wherever you need it.
Apps are designed to help you get things done. Looking for a gas station in a new part of town? An app can help you find it. Want to stay up to date on your favorite sports team? An app has the scores you need. With this in mind, we designed our search to answer a simple question: “What do you want to do?” No more browsing lists in an app store or guessing at the most effective keyword to search. Quixey can help you find the app to do what you want, when you need it. This is revolutionary.