Today we’re proud to announce our partnership with DuckDuckGo! We’re now powering app search for the alternative search engine that brings privacy, less spam, and immediate solutions to its users via the “instant answers” box at the top of its SERP.
Monthly, DuckDuckGo has been seeing over 45 million users, and more keep switching over as they realize the value of a search engine that doesn’t track their every move. The company stresses a straightforward approach to search, emphasizing privacy and simplifying the results page. Useless clutter is removed from the results page, and their “!bang” feature allows users to search thousands of sites directly through the DuckDuckGo search bar. For example, if you need Python tips, simply enter “!python” after your query to search Python documentation.
We wanted to work with DuckDuckGo because we feel the same way about the technology we’ve built — it shouldn’t throw unnecessary content your way. We’re about bringing relevant app results to users right when they search, regardless of whether they know what they’re looking for. So a search engine that avoids filter bubbles is appealing to us, because relevant doesn’t mean curated. It just means helping the user find what they’re looking for on their own.
On the DuckDuckGo SERP, all app-specific searches will now yield app results powered by Quixey in the instant answers box above regular results, such as “best iphone games for kids” and “app for finding hiking trails.” Because DuckDuckGo stresses finding answers to queries with as few clicks as possible, Quixey’s integration fits right into their simple interface. When apps powered by Quixey appear in the instant answers box, users simply click on an app to view a quick snippet about it and a direct link to download.
As we stressed in our partnership announcement with Ask.com, the web is currently transforming from static sites to apps. An assortment of blue links simply isn’t enough when searching the web today. DuckDuckGo understands the importance of getting a relevant answer to the user as quickly as possible, and this isn’t always just an article with written information. Users are often searching for function and action — a way to help them get tasks done.
That’s why we were excited at the prospect of working with DuckDuckGo — their format allows us to serve apps to more users quickly, easily, and clutter-free.
The web is transforming, and we’re right there with it.
Today we announced our partnership with Ask.com, providing millions of users with apps to help answer their questions. This signals a shift in the way we search the web, as Ask.com is the first of the world’s largest search engines to feature a third party app search in their primary results—bridging the gap between the app economy and the web.
Now all Ask.com users will see apps in the main search results for any app-specific query, such as “best iphone games for kids,” “apps for finding bicycle trails,” and “angry birds.” In addition, “apps” will now be its own search tab powered by Quixey, next to image, video, and news. All major mobile platforms are supported, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
When people search online, what they don’t realize is that their queries are often better answered with an app as opposed to a blue link with arbitrary information. This partnership caters directly toward this perception of apps as a highly valuable source of content. As Shane McGilloway, Chief Operations Officer at Ask.com, put it, “Q&A sites must deliver content-rich experiences to engage users at scale, [and] apps are gateways to some of the most top-notch digital content out there.”
For example, when you search “watch Toy Story,” you’re not asking for a bunch of arbitrary links about Toy Story and Pixar. What you want is a way to watch the movie online—through apps such as Hulu, Netflix, and HBOGO. In future integrations, “watch Toy Story” will return these apps. Similarly, “how do I book a cab” will return taxi-booking apps that allow you to book a cab on the spot.
We’re currently witnessing a transformation of the web from static sites to apps, and this partnership is a perfect way to blend the two worlds. Instead of a web based largely on content and information, apps have pushed the evolution toward a web of functionality and action. Implementing app results directly into a search engine as large as Ask.com is very significant because it directly caters to this transformation.
Sam Lellouche, Director of Product Management at Quixey, noted the importance of the Ask partnership: “As our largest public partnership, the Ask deal lays a great foundation for future partnerships and product integrations to come,” he said. “We’ve been looking forward to this launch for a long time, and we’re very excited to bring Quixey’s technology to millions of Ask users.”
Quixey is at the forefront of solving the app discovery problem, and this partnership is a clear example of our efforts to change the game when it comes to search. This type of partnership is simply the beginning—users will soon have access to added functionality wherever and whenever they want it, allowing them to solve very specific problems exactly when the need arises. Read more about the Ask integration on TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Associated Press, and Search Engine Journal, and stay tuned for more exciting partnership announcements in the coming year!
Over the past few months, we’ve taken a hard look at Quixey.com and feedback we’ve received from users, applying that information to a completele reworking of the site’s interface and experience. As the company continues to move at breakneck speed, a lot of our resources have recently been focused on building our APIs. Now we feel it’s time to match our site’s feel with its status as the central online presence of one of the world’s fastest-growing startups. We
know we still have a long way to go, and this is just the beginning.
First, let’s talk about the homepage. We’ve kept it very simple, acknowledging that users don’t need a flood of options and information thrown at them the second they land on a website. Most people usually have a sense of what they’re looking for, so the first decision they make is what kind of app they want to find—smartphone, browser, desktop, or web. That’s why the most noticeable buttons contain exactly these options. Hover over them and you’ll see the platforms we search—now you can immediately filter your query to the platform that suits you. For example, if you want Android apps, hover over “Mobile” and select “Android.” Easily found, quickly selected.
We’ve also implemented a new feature to show users the full potential our search. Our technology is far more powerful than anything else on the market, but its total functionality is rarely tapped into. That’s why we introduced the “Sample Searches” banner below the search bar. Clicking it brings up common areas of your life to use Quixey, and hovering over one of them will bring up suggested queries. For example, hover over “for Cooking” and queries such as “cook healthier food” and “time the perfect egg” appear. These examples we’ve provided are a good indicator of the kinds of queries you can type into the search bar. We invented Functional Search® to allow users to find apps without even knowing exactly what they’re looking for—all you have to do is type what you want to do, like “wake me up with a song” or “study for the SAT” and we’ll return apps to help.
Now that you know what kinds of queries to type, plug one into the search bar. After you hit enter, you’ll be taken to a completely redesigned SERP (Search Engine Results Page). On the left you’ll see a list of apps that cater directly to your query. After clicking anywhere on an app result, information about that app will appear in the empty column to the right. Instead of clicking multiple times to learn about the app, everything you need to know appears in one place, allowing you to make a quick decision. This is valuable because if you don’t like an app, you can simply click on a different one without having to click the back button.
Under “Information,” you can read about the app, view screenshots, and filter by price. Click on the light blue button (which says “FREE” or the price) and you’ll be taken directly to that platform’s app store to download it. Directly below that button is the dark blue editions button, containing a range of prices. Click on it to view the different versions of an app (i.e. free, lite, HD, paid, etc).
When you’re on the results page, clicking on the title of any app will take you to that app’s page. There, in addition to larger screenshots and more detailed information, you can also learn more specifics about the different editions on the left side of the page.
In redesigning our website, we put the experience of our users first. We feel like it’s much improved now, but can’t wait to keep making it better. We’re never satisfied, we know we have a long way to go, and we highly value any feedback received. Give the site a whirl and tell us what you think!
In conjunction with the launch of our new logo earlier this month, we’re happy to announce that our mobile site has also undergone a major upgrade! To make your life easier, the site now defaults to searching whichever platform you’re on — Android users will only see Android apps, iOS users will only see iOS apps, and so on. If you want to see apps available on all platforms, you can easily do so by reverting to the classic, non-mobile view at the bottom of the page.
To get a better sense of the new features, let’s walk through the updated site on an iPhone phone step by step:
As with our last mobile site, the focus of the home page remains on our search bar, prompting the user to answer the question, “What do you want to do?”
Step 2: Enter your search query
On the new site, when you start typing, Quixey offers options similar to what you might be looking for. This autocomplete function is meant to speed up the process of finding exactly what you want. It’s currently in beta and will get better as our system improves.
Step 3: Select an app
On the results, you’ll see the app name, star rating, and snippets about the app that will tell you how the app relates to your query. As you’ll notice, the results can easily be filtered between All, Free, and Paid.
If you’re looking for more options, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find our signature Q, loading more results for you. We implemented infinite scroll so you only have to navigate between a few pages. Select the app you want to move forward.
Step 4: Learn about the app
Once you’ve picked an app, a screen shows up with sidescrolling screenshots of the app in action. We learned from user feedback that screenshots were the most important tool in deciding which app to download. So we felt it necessary to showcase screenshots directly on the app page so you could make a quick, informed decision. Tap any picture to view it in full size.
The navigation bar at the bottom of the page allows you to move from screenshots to an info page, which has a detailed description of the app.
Above the photos and description are buttons noting the number of editions if there are more than one, and the price of the app. One of the things that sets Quixey apart from other app search technologies is our concept of editions. For example, we view Bright Puzzles as one app with three editions: Wild Animals, Toys, and Puppies. For the first time, you can easily view multiple iterations of an app and pick the best one for them. When you’re ready to download, click on the price button to be taken to that app’s purchase page in your phone’s app store.
Step 5: Enjoy your app!
In designing the new mobile site, we took into account all of your comments and suggestions. The finished product is one that we feel is clean, quick, and efficient.
Thanks for your input and we’ll continue to improve the site as we find ways to better your experience on the go!
This post was written by Liron Shapira, co-founder and CTO.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 was a big day at Quixey – our first company hackathon. At 10am, we dropped everything, split into teams of 4-5 Quixiers, and spent the next 24 hours hacking together prototypes of crazy new ideas.
The hackathon was data-themed, and there were three prize categories: Best Data Collection, Best Data Analysis, and Best Data Visualization. The prize for each winning team was a $100 Github credit for each team member, and naming rights to one of the conference rooms in the new office we just moved into. Thanks to Github for generously donating these prizes in support of the Hackathon!
The winners were decided by our hackathon judge, Dan Appleman. Dan is a serial entrepreneur and programming expert with over a dozen published books (mostly about programming). We asked Dan to judge the projects based on how much value they could potentially add to Quixey.
Hackathons are everywhere in Silicon Valley (it’s a real hackathon-athon here). We wanted the Quixey hackathon to be special, and we wanted everyone to be productive and have a great time. So we did some things differently:
We did it on company time
If we had done a weekend hackathon, we wouldn’t have had to reschedule our meetings and deadlines. Weekday hackathons are harder and more expensive. So why did we do it on a weekday? Because we wanted to run a hackathon like a serious company effort, not a gimmick. Taking the hackathon seriously meant trading it off against the other priorities in our week.
We all participated
Most hackathons attract a certain demographic – the single and junior engineer. We thought every Quixier – single or married, intern or VP, engineer or non-engineer – would have something valuable to contribute. So we assigned everyone in the company to a hackathon team.
Sure enough, every employee found something to contribute. Quixiers in Marketing worked on PowerPoint slides for their team’s presentation. Quixiers in Business Development worked on exporting Salesforce data for their team’s project to analyze. And of course, Quixiers in Engineering and Design built prototypes.
Some people went home to their families after their day of hacking; others kept hacking late into the night. I gave my teammates a ride home at 4:30am and picked them up four hours later. When we got back to the office, we saw a few Quixiers who were still there after pulling all-nighters.
We mixed the teams
After Quixey’s two years of nonstop hiring and exponential growth, things can’t help feeling a little bigger and less personal. Normally, each of us only gets the opportunity to work with a few other Quixiers. So for the hackathon, we assigned everyone to teams that had almost zero overlap with normal working teams.
We were surprised how great it felt to work intensely with talented and passionate new teammates on Thursday. And on Friday, it was amazing to see all nine teams deliver a great presentation. After seeing how well randomly-mixed groups work together at Quixey, we really feel like the whole company is one unified team.
We reversed leadership roles
A lot of our summer engineering interns were going back to school soon after the hackathon, and we wanted to make their last Quixey experience great. So we declared that the most junior engineer on each team was the captain. That rule left us with a lot of ambiguous captain assignments, and we had to use a nondeterministic algorithm from game theory to break the ties: rock-paper-scissors.
If we hadn’t assigned team captains, we think interns and junior employees would naturally have looked to senior employees for leadership. We were happy to see how reversing the leadership roles successfully created a balanced team dynamic during the hackathon.
We had a cooperative spirit
The Quixey hackathon was really about exploring potentially great ideas for Quixey. We still wanted it to be a competition, but we also wanted to encourage cooperation among teams. One thing we did was purposely avoid giving extravagant prizes. We wanted people to feel good about taking time to help other teams, not feel like they were missing out on a new Macbook Pro if they didn’t win first place.
A lot of teams ended up needing help. Some people actually finished their own projects and stayed late to help other teams. That spirit of cooperation was one of the main things that made our hackathon a success.
We encouraged teams to think big
Most hackathons encourage thinking small. It’s tempting to just build a prototype of a simple product because you know you can have a polished demo ready in 24 hours.
We wanted to encourage teams to hack on ideas that mattered, ideas that could have a big impact on the company five years from now. So we announced that we would be judging projects according to their expected value to Quixey – not just how cool or polished the demo looked. In fact, the team that won the prize for Best Data Collection didn’t present a working demo. They presented research, statistics and graphs that made a compelling argument for implementing their idea.
We connected the hackathon to Quixey’s product road map
When we encouraged the hackathon teams to take risks, we knew a lot of the projects wouldn’t work out. But if they did work out, we wanted them to have a real impact on the direction of the company. So after our day of creative thinking and exploration, we shifted gears and took a hard look at our product road map.
The hackathon projects blew away our expectations. One of the projects was such a success that we incorporated it wholesale as a major upcoming search feature. A few of the others are planned as product features and internal tools. And most of the projects have some value for our research and patenting efforts.
We have to keep all the projects classified, but here’s an overview of our three hackathon winners:
Best Data Collection: Team Juggernaut
Juggernaut’s project focused on a new kind of signal we could use to parameterize our machine-learned search. It was a great first effort to take our search development in a direction we hadn’t had time to explore before.
Best Data Analysis: Team Tomato Jedi
Tomato Jedi’s project analyzed how we could relate apps to a web user’s intent. Judge Dan awarded them the prize because their project was interesting from both a technical and business perspective.
Best Data Visualization: Team Entropy
Entropy’s project dealt with visualizing the “functional web” – the web of apps and their interrelations. They took a risk by experimenting with some clever graph algorithms, and produced a demo that was both beautiful and productizable. Their presentation shocked us all.
When you have a world-class team, pushing everyone to the limit for 24 hours is a thrill. It feels like driving a new sports car and stepping on the gas. After the hackathon, the most common response I heard was how amazing it was that all the teams pulled off their projects. And it was nice to give our interns something special to remember from their summer at Quixey.
We’re so happy with how Hackathon #1 turned out that we’ve decided to continue with regular hackathons. Stay tuned for Quixey Hackathon #2!
This post was written by Jeff Fan, Lead Designer at Quixey. He graduated from UC Berkeley last year and joined the Quixey team in December. He was the architect of the new logo design, which launched September 1st.
When we first sat down to discuss the possibility of redesigning our logo, we recognized that the project would present a number of challenges. We had already built strong brand recognition with the original logo, and we knew implementing a revamped design would require a lot of time and effort. Still, we wanted to move forward with a redesign that would not only fit comfortably with the evolving company culture we’re developing at Quixey, but also with our partners’ and developers’ products. Furthermore, we felt that the time was right for a new logo, anticipating our move into a bigger office in Mountain View. Now as the new workspace changes with each day, we’re channeling the simple, clean design of the logo into every aspect of its growth.
Although we love the original Quixey logo, and it will always hold a special place in our hearts, we all agreed that a new design was necessary to capture the bold, forward-thinking feel of our company. We wanted to maintain the impact of the “Q” in Quixey, but do it in a way that wasn’t overpowering. Although distinct, the large Q limited our flexibility from a UI standpoint. As we inserted “Powered By Quixey” below more and more search bars, we needed the whole Quixey logo to be legible to consumers, not just the Q.
Basically, we wanted consumers to associate the powerful search they used with a logo that embodied its strength. So in the early stages of the project, we tried a variety of approaches. Some designs implemented multiple colors, some toyed with different icons. Eventually, all signs pointed toward a design that kept things simple.
We settled on the design you see today because it’s the perfect balance of all our needs. It’s fun and friendly, yet very strong. It has character, but isn’t too loud. And most importantly, it’s easy to read while still maintaining the personality of our beloved Q. A little known fact about Quixey’s logo is that the uppercase Q is meant to double as a magnifying glass, highlighting the most fundamental aspect of our company—search. The new Q, bold and sharp, holds onto that image without throwing the full design off balance.
In developing a new logo, and in turn, a new image for Quixey, we made sure to carefully analyze the dynamics of our industry and where we see ourselves within it. We’re confident that the end result is a fresh, yet timeless design that can easily evolve with our rapidly growing company. In other words, we think it’s going to help take us to some pretty awesome heights. We hope you agree!
Welcome Home to Windows Phone Helps You Seamlessly Transfer the Following Data to Windows Phone:
Wait. Did you say transfer apps?
Yes. Yes we did.
Doesn’t matter if it’s iOS, Android, or Blackberry–Quixey makes it possible to transfer apps to Windows Phone from all platforms. For as long as smartphones have been around, users have consistently shied away from switching platforms even years after settling on their first device. OS competitors innovate, new phones entice users to switch, and yet…transferring their personal information has always been frustratingly difficult. Jetting over contacts and media are one thing, but the main issue holding people back stems from a lack of support in transferring apps. Understandably, users want to know they’ll retain the same functionality if they’re making a big switch. Quixey’s app recommendations in Welcome Home to Windows Phone are the first solution to give them that peace of mind.
For the first time, users can transfer the most important aspect of their smartphones – apps. Whether it’s apps that keep you organized (Evernote), apps that keep you unorganized (Doodle Jump), or any app in between, each one plays a role in customizing the smartphone experience. Quixey’s recommendations help users maintain that functionality in the switch to Windows Phone.
With about 100,000 apps available, Windows provides an expansive ecosystem made immediately accessible through Quixey’s app recommendations. Once Welcome Home to Windows Phone is installed onto the computer, users plug in their smartphone through a USB port and follow the simple steps to transfer their data. The software will recognize apps currently installed on the phone, and then find the exact match or a recommendation for a similar app on Windows Phone. After following the software’s quick prompts, users are ready to transfer all their personal preferences onto their new Windows Phone! The software is now available for immediate download at http://welcomehome.to/nokia.
Think about E.T. for a second. “E.T. phone home” right? Well, E.T. is the apps, “phone” is Quixey, and home is your new phone. Welcome Home to Windows Phone.
Thank you to everyone who made last week’s Quixey Challenge the most epic challenge yet, and a special congratulations to all the winners!
For those of you who don’t know, the Quixey Challenge is an opportunity for top engineers to fix a bug in 1 minute and win $100. We run the QC once a month. This month, 396 of the best engineers in the world (many from CMU, MIT, Palantir, Dropbox and other engineering powerhouses) took the challenge and 101 people won.
Here are a few key stats from Thursday’s Challenge:
Over 10,000 people came to quixeychallenge.com on challenge day, with an average visit time of over 6 minutes
Approximately 25% of people who took the challenge won
QC was on the front page of Hacker News for 10 hours
Every 4 seconds, someone took a practice challenge
Over 50% of wins happened in the last 2 hours of the challenge
The fastest winning time was 7 seconds
The average winner took a total of 15 minutes to qualify for the challenge, enter the queue and solve the challenge
Compared to our last challenge in December, we did a few things differently:
We made it harder to qualify. Instead of requiring contestants to solve one practice challenge in under a minute, we required them to solve three practices in any amount of time. We think the new requirement set the bar higher for contestants.
We offered a $50 bonus to anyone who referred a winner. Out of the 101 winners, 55 were referred. Surprise, surprise - smart people know smart people.
We had four operators. Last time we only had two operators, and the queue became an unwieldy 2-hour wait. This time, we doubled the number of operators and cut our peak wait time to 15 minutes. The average wait time was only 2 minutes. The result: 396 engineers took the January Challenge, compared to 197 in the December Challenge.
Our improvements worked – the January Challenge was our most successful one yet. Thanks to everyone who played and referred their friends!
We’ll keep representing the Quixey team’s passion for algorithms by running another challenge next month. Make sure to check Quixey Challenge later this week when we start the countdown to the February Challenge!