Review: WebSearch, Native App-a-Week

Safari on the iPhone is the best mobile internet experience in today’s market bar none. It is as much intuitive as it is pretty which makes for a superb user interface and browsing experience. But one complaint I had with Safari was the lack of quick search tools. If you ever used Sogudi or Saft on the desktop Safari, you know that it makes Safari an even more powerful web browser.

WebSearch on the iPhone comes from a similar mold. Because in Safari the default search engine is Google (you can also switch to Yahoo! in the settings) it kind of limits the specific searches you might need. Especially considering the slow pace of EDGE, quick searches in the wild can often be cumbersome. Well with WebSearch you are allowed quick easy access to the searches you want. How does it perform?

Read on for the rest of the review! (and remember you'll need a jailbroken iPhone!)

How to Install:

A simple search of WebSearch in Installer.app's All Categories should pop this native app up.

Design/Interface

The design is basic, offering a list of popular searches like Amazon, Wikipedia, eBay, IMDB, etc. all at a simple tap. There is also a cute little web clip of the searches, a nice touch that adds to the overall design. Upon launch, a widget pops up for you to type your object of interest into. It will then launch Safari and load your search in the search engine of your choice.

There is minimal flair to the program because let’s face it, Google has proven that Search needs no bells and whistles. The folks who developed WebSearch realize that the best way to let you search multiple domains is through a quick and easy interface. Want to check prices on Amazon? Click and type. Who’s that actor in this movie? Fire up the IMDB widget and type.

Usability

This native app fulfilled my thirst to know things on the spot. Whenever I needed quick answers for simple questions on-the-go, I needn’t make a mental note to search on my Mac when I get home but rather was able to just fire up WebSearch and everything I used to search on my Mac was now easily accessible on my iPhone.

Because let’s face it, as great as Safari is, sometimes it is TOO good for its own good. Especially when on EDGE, I like to make my web browsing as text based and photo-less as possible, when searching eBay or IMDB without WebSearch, the process can take foooreever.

You also have the ability to customize searches as well. For example, if you want to add a particular search engine that they don’t include, the process is fairly easy. For the more advanced users, you could also add a little webclip icon to your ‘added’ search engines for icing on the cake.

Criticism

As useful as WebSearch is, it is not without flaws. The problem with using a jailbroken app to perform such searches is that it can only offer a pseudo-backwards process. Meaning, with WebSearch, you decide what to search, fire up WebSearch, click the search engine, and then finally, it will launch Safari. This native app serves a need right now because Apple didn’t offer different search engines in Safari, if Apple decides to offer more engines WebSearch will become completely unnecessary.

Also, I used WebSearch a lot more before I figured out the usage of bookmarklets. We’ve covered Bookmarklets more than a few times here at TiPb, but its worth mentioning again. Bookmarklets are more useful than WebSearch because it is essentially embedded in Safari. I have Bookmarklets for all my necessary searches such as eBay, Wikipedia, and IMDB. Having to not wait for WebSearch to launch Safari cuts down on the seconds that matter for quick web searches.

Final Thoughts

This is a great little addition to your iPhone because of its speed and ease of use. Because the web is in your pocket, you’ll always be reaching for the iPhone when you want to fact-check or remind yourself of something you’ve forgotten.

For quick web searches on your iPhone WebSearch is a great tool. Because Safari is much too good a browser to use on EDGE, the searching process becomes kind of slow. With WebSearch, you get your answers as quickly as possible.

Pros

  • Simple, easy interface
  • Loads of search engines
  • Customizable to your needs

Cons

  • Has to launch Safari which adds time
  • Bookmarklets are better

Final rating: 4/5

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Review: WebSearch, Native App-a-Week

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This is a great one. Almost like my "Inquisitor on the iPhone," which I'd love to have eventually. I sent Dave Wantanabe a comment about that - I have heard nothing. Yahoo has the rights, but let's see what happens.