Leap2 rethinks mobile search, launches app with all-in-one interfaceNovember 30, 2011 by Michael Stacy
The team at Leap2 sees big opportunity on the small screens of mobile devices.
More precisely, Leap2, a Kansas City, Kan.-based mobile application development startup, believes it’s problematic that search interfaces originally designed for large computer screens are being used on the considerably smaller screens of smartphones. And that’s a problem Leap2 intends to solve.
The company yesterday launched Leap2 Navigator, an application designed to improve the experience of searching on mobile devices. The app, which is available for free download in the iOs App Store, enables web browsing, keyword navigation and vertical category selection all in a single interface.
“Looking at the devices we all use today, it became apparent that search and navigation needed to be more visual and tactile and less about clicking through to pages,” Dan Carroll, a member of Leap2’s board, said in a press release. “Leaping over a page of text links directly to the sites themselves makes sense in a high-speed mobile world.”
Left: Leap2’s main screen features two scrollable search bars, three tabs and the website of the top search result. Right: The tabs remain when users navigate away from the main screen. Screenshots from itunes.apple.com.
The app’s interface features two vertically scrollable wheels: on the left-hand side, the wheel is populated by the term the user searches and a list of related terms; on the right, there are “category icons,” which direct users to things like social media buzz, contact information and maps related to the search term.
Below those side-by-wide wheels, the app features three tabs with the top results for the terms queried. When users navigate to one website, the tabs for the top three results remain at the top of the screen.
Finally, in the bottom portion of the screen, Leap2 automatically displays — or “leaps to,” hence the company’s name — the top web result for the search, and it’s displayed as a live web page instead of a text link.
Leap2 is not a new search engine; it’s merely a new way of formatting and presenting search results. But, like any search app, the Leap2 Navigator lends itself targeted advertisements, which, per the company’s CrunchBase profile, is how Leap2 intends to drive revenue.
Michael Farmer (left, photo from linkedin.com), whose résumé includes stints in senior management for CAP CO2 (Wichita, Kan.), kozoru (Kansas City, Mo.), Aristotle International (San Francisco), Etak-TeleAtlas (Menlo Park, Calif.), and Rand McNally (San Francisco), is Leap2’s co-founder and CEO.
“Industry experts told us it would not be possible to build a mobile search browser that would allow users to navigate websites in real-time,” said Farmer said in the press release. “The fact that Leap2 is possible today is a testament to the pace of converging innovations from wireless networks, mobile OS, wireless devices, and cloud computing.”