Mobile search engine Taptu has just launched a free iPhone app (“alternative search machine”). It’s the first iPhone-specific search engine but Taptu has been doing mobile search for some time. According to the company the engine crawls the web and indexes “iPhone friendly pages” that are optimized for the device. The index is much smaller than a conventional search engine but “growing every day” according to Taptu.
It offers “preview cards” that create a very Palm Pre-like experience. You flick or horizontally scroll through preview pages (showing mostly real-time images of the sites) and then touch/click to go to the source page. There are no links in search results accordingly. Here’s a video showing how it works:
There’s also a cascading menu that allows for related searches or refinement by content source with a single touch.
In a related bit of news comScore and AdMob put out data today from a survey that involved roughly 7,300 US consumers (ages 13 and older) on iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The study revealed demographic differences between the groups, but the most important and striking finding released showed that a substantial minority of the survey respondents (40+ percent) are going online with their mobile devices more often than through a PC.
While this group arguably represents the “bleeding edge” (to use the cliche) of the mobile market, this behavior can’t be ignored by advertisers. As we argued during the SMX Advanced panel on mobile PPC, you’ve got to experiment with mobile today to understand it — because there may be a day when there are more searches on mobile devices than on the PC.
That’s already true in selected developing nations according to Yahoo. I’ve got a little more on the AdMob data on LocalMobileSearch.