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Point-and-click search on the iPhone

Proximic has developed technology enabling users to point-and-click on a piece of text to get relevant search results, making it easier for mobile users to conduct complex queries.

A company called Proximic says it has developed an easier way for consumers to do complex searches from their cell phones.

While Apple's iPhone has helped make surfing the Web from a mobile device easier, it's still difficult to type in complex search queries. But Proximic has introduced a new application called Proximic Agents for the iPhone that will help. The new technology, which is language-independent, uses point-and-click technology to highlight bits of text. This means that users don't have to type in a long string of search terms.

Search results from a Proximic search. Proximic

Unlike other search engines, which rely on keywords to find results, the search technology from Proximic looks for patterns in the text to see where these patterns overlap. It then delivers relevant results based on these patterns.

Proximic co-founder and CEO Philipp Pieper believes that conducting searches in this manner provides more contextualized and relevant search results and also makes conducting complex searches much easier.

"Mobile phones today lack ease of use when it comes to complex searches," he said. "But with our technology users can click on a paragraph or a whole Web page and get other relevant stories or information."

The application is initially being offered on the iPhone through the Apple App Store. It's free to download. But Pieper said that the technology will eventually be available to other smartphones. Future releases of the software will also allow users to do much more, like find more relevant search results based on location. Other search companies such as Yahoo and Google are also using location-based technology to provide local search results for mobile devices.

Users can highlight an entire paragraph for a search query. Proximic

But Pieper believes that the Proximic technology will be able to take location-based search a step further. For example, in future releases of the software, users will be able to go into a store and take a picture of a product description and then be able to search for that product or a product with similar features. Users will then get reviews of that product or will even get results for where they can buy that particular product nearby.

"Imagine you're shopping for a TV in Best Buy," Pieper said. "You punch the product description or take a picture of the description, and you can get search results that show you the same TV is being offered for a lower price down the street at another store."

Pieper went on to say that these kinds of search results could be a boon for mobile advertising.

"Advertisers are looking for useful ad placements," he said. "Especially now in the current economy, advertising needs to be useful and relevant to users. It has to be something that users value and engage in to make it worthwhile to the advertisers."

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