David-sized Vurb Battles Goliath-sized Google for Mobile Search
Contextual search engine startup Vurb was recently named the winner of the Disrupt Cup 2014 at New York’s TechCrunch, adding $50,000 of prize money to its war chest of $8 million in venture capital funding. The San Francisco-based tech company is currently in closed beta mode with a mobile-based innovation that could give search engine giant Google a run for its money.
According to Vurb founder and CEO Bobby Lo, the problem with the current mobile search landscape is that users have to choose between a single multi-purpose app that performs a number of tasks in a mediocre fashion or a number of single-purpose apps that requires users to jump back and forth between apps.
Lo said that Vurb was designed to aggregate utility from leading third-party apps, enabling Vurb users to quickly make decisions while others are still clicking links.
How Vurb Works
Vurb’s search function has ditched the traditional list of blue-colored links – a real pain for mobile navigation – in favor of informative cards drawn from factual databases as well as third-party sources such as Yelp, Netflix, YouTube and Crunchbase.
- Although Vurb is currently limited to verticals such as movies, places and media, it has plans to expand its reach to include shopping and travel in the near future.
- Vurb anticipates the most logical reason for a search, and displays an array of related information.
- Here’s an example of Vurb in action. Imagine you want to take in a movie. Start your search and Vurb displays Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes scores as well as location-based showtimes, movie trailers and reviews. Select your favorite theater and click to buy tickets for the showtime you want. Click the Nearby Places button and you’ll see a selection of restaurant and club options to round out your evening on the town. Choose your favorite restaurant and Vurb pulls up menus, maps and a table booking button. Best of all, you can do all this without typing another word after your initial query or navigating through a confusing array of tabs – two tasks that are a particularly clumsy chore to accomplish on a mobile device.
Why Vurb’s Approach Makes a Lot of Sense