New iPhone app Searchme brings its desktop sibling's Cover-Flow-style Web search to the small screen. It's fun and it works great.
Josh LowensohnFormer Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Visual search engine Searchme has a sexy new iPhone app that brings its signature Cover-Flow-like interface to the phone's 3.5-inch display. Search results come in the form of large thumbnails with short content summaries underneath. To browse through them you simply flick your finger across the screen, just like you would with album covers in the phone's iPod application.
The app also supports pinch gestures for zooming in on thumbnails. This lets you see the the details of a page before visiting it in Safari--something that can be done with a simple double tap on any result. This may seem like a trivial feature, but it can be immensely helpful, and in some cases even prevent you from having to visit the site at all. In my case I was able to pull up a restaurant's address just by zooming in, saving me some time and data.
The application makes use of the iPhone's accelerometer, and can tell when you've got it in landscape mode. When flipped, you get an additional two thumbnails on the screen, and it does away with the summaries entirely. It's also marvelously fun to zoom back and forth.
This app is definitely more than eye candy. Over a 3G connection it took just 3 seconds to bring up search results that I was able to flip through, and another 15 to stream in the thumbnails. During that loading time I was able to browse through the titles and summaries with zero lag which is really impressive.
Searchme is free and can be found in the app store (iTunes link).