Zook : A New Approach to Mobile Search

As a Mobile App enthusiast it always fascinate me to see how user behavior changes when a certain activity /task is shifted from PC Internet to mobile Internet. Biggest mistake product manager commit is to assume that change in user behavior will be primarily driven by the constraint imposed by mobile phone. A commonly held axiom is that activity level usually decreases from PC to mobile. For example if I write long verbose  reply to emails from my laptop , I will probably be writing short 3-4 lines long email  messages on my blackberry (keypad constraint) .If I read a long article,leisurely on my PC then on my cellphone I will be snacking on bit sized content piece (screen size constraint). If I watch full length movies on PC ,I will see clips on mobile (bandwidth constraints ) .While these assumptions are heuristically correct but they leaves a large number of use cases un explored which lead to a HUGE potential untapped  which could have been tapped only through the medium of cellphone.

Search is a case in point .when you carry out a search in desktop paradigm your looking for content related to that query . when I look for something like say "Kingfisher Beer" on PC, potentially relevant results for me are corporate website of UB group , wikipedia entry for Beer , advert to latest campaign ,related News item etc. But when I carry out the same search using a mobile my potentially suitable result will also include wallpaper Kingfisher logo, Kingfisher's Good Time Ring tone , Theme, SMS forward with Kingfisher word in it , Store locator's showing nearest bar serving the brew, discount coupon to beer etc . These additional results might be of no value to me on PC but on mobile my propensity of consuming these content is more. Based on this information one can make a pretty strong case that when it come to mobile phone we need to not only optimize search but also modify it .

 Zook is an search application from Bangalore based Ziva software which is trying to do just that. they are modifying and presenting the search result tailor made for Mobile phone . I am very fascinated by their value proposition . You can download Zook client from the website by pointing your mobile browser to www.zook.in/client or you can download the app on to your PC from http://www.zook.in/client/phonelist.html and side load  it to your cellphone . application size is of `198 kb and its supported for most of the popular Nokia devices . Installation on My Nokia E63 was smooth and glitch free. once the app is installed and you start it . it takes sometime to calculate the current location of user and after that you are ready to go . Interface is very similar to  clean and standard Search engine.only difference is that underneath the main search box there are section for Movie ,coupon,deal ,event,local etc .

 I searched for the term "BAR" . In addition to the organic result I got a pointer to the nearest bar , there was option for  click to call or save number to phone book. This make the whole experience very mobile friendly.Other result are  categorized under various sections as shown in screenshot below. you can browse them by clciking to every category link and expanding it .There is a social angle to Zook search also .You can query the Zook community or your specific group of friends to tell you, for example, what they think of the movie or restaurant before going to it. Zook can even tell which of your 'active' friends (those users in your phone book whose numbers have been promoted to Zook and also use Zook themselves) are nearest to you. this functionality is a huge differentiators for Zook . It allow the to seamlessly integrate the social recommendations in search results.

I am using it for past couple of weeks and I am very impressed by it and I am not alone, Zook has a significant fan following amongst its user. They were showcased by  Nokia in featured application section some time back . Do try Zook and do let me know your views. 


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