Until today, Quixey has primarily worked with business customers, including Sprint, Ask.com, browser makers, and OEMs, who license its technology to power their own app search engines and experiences. But at the time of the funding announcement, Quixey CEO Tomer Kagan said that the company would have something “pretty major” in the consumer realm in just a few weeks.
We understood that would be an Android application which allows Quixey’s search service to be better baked into users’ smartphones. With the new app, out now, users can search for apps using simple descriptions instead of app titles and keywords, the company says.
Quixey knows how to match descriptions with apps because of the way it has built up its search technology over the years. As opposed to only relying on the fields that the app developers themselves fill in when publishing apps to the various app stores, Quixey has also indexed unstructured data from the web, like app reviews, blogs, news articles, social media posts, and more, to determine what an app really does.
When you launch Quixey’s app for the first time, the search interface gives you a sense of how you can use this technology, offering a few sample suggestions of the queries it makes possible, like “improve battery life,” “read at my leisure,” or “play action games,” for example.
The app also offers a few other features, too, for discovering apps in ways Google Play does not currently support. There’s a “Browse” interface that lets you spin a wheel between categories like “Play,” “Work,” “Live,” and “Learn,” which then takes you to subcategory options where you spin again to drill down further and be returned specific app lists. It’s a clever interface, but feels more experimental than practical for the time being, and it’s hard to say if it’s truly that much better than moving between app categories on the Google Play store itself.
Meanwhile, a customized “trending” section is a bit more useful, as it lets you find the top apps for various demographic and interest groups (e.g. “shoppers,” “entrepreneurs,” “teens,” “pet lovers,” etc.). And lastly, a “Sample Sort” feature lets you create and sort sample search queries by different personal needs, like “calculate my mortgage,” or “share photos,” for instance. (I think this section could be better titled to explain what it does, though.)
Overall, probably the best part of Quixey’s search is that you can be more descriptive with your needs, instead of having to think up an app by name, or trying to figure out what keywords a developer would have used.
The app itself is free, though ultimately it leaves itself open to paid placements for apps as a way to generate revenue.
However, the company has a larger goal of enabling users to not just find apps, but find the content within their apps. You could then search for things like “Thai food” nearby, and find a list of restaurants and a map as you would have before, but also reviews from Yelp and Foursquare, Groupon deals, Foodspotting reviews, and more, as just one example.
That larger vision is not yet realized in the app Quixey launched today, which is just an app search and discovery utility. But with the additional funding, it should be interesting to keep an eye on what the company does next.