Google tamed the Wild West of the web in the ’90s — and Quixey aims to do that for mobile apps today.
The company has raised more than $74 million for its natural language search tech for finding mobile apps. But it turns out Quixey wants to do more than just find you more apps: With the latest addition to its “functional search” technology, Quixey wants to be the one-stop search solution for the information buried within apps.
“I don’t collect apps like Pokémon [the video game about collecting monsters],” said Quixey cofounder and CEO Tomer Kagan in an interview. “Apps should be searchable the same way we felt comfortable with the web [at] the turn of the century.”
As someone who juggles multiple apps on my phone for taxi hailing (Uber, Hailo, and Gett), mobile food delivery, and a wealth of other services, it’s easy to find Quixey’s mission compelling. Theoretically, you’d eventually be able to use Quixey’s search to find whatever you want — be it Thai food, the closest taxi, or a song — across multiple apps, all in a single location.
The company says its new mobile search will launch on Android soon, with an iOS app to follow.
Quixey has developed a simple markup language that developers can use to make their apps and services accessible to Quixey’s search. While it’s a manual process right now, Kagan tells me he hopes to be able to add new companies to Quixey’s search platform automatically by the end of the year.
Quixey is also wisely announcing this news today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some eager developers to join its search mission.
“The question some people thought about before was how to get people to download their app, but that’s like asking how to get people to bookmark websites,” Kagan quipped. What’s more important today is that consumers can find the information they need on the web quickly, rather than sifting through their bookmark entries.
While redefining mobile search may seem ambitious, Kagan tells me this was his goal all along when starting Quixey four years ago. But when he tried to pitch that idea to investors, he was laughed at for being too ambitious. Kagan also dished that Google Ventures basically told him “who wants to find apps?”
Google Ventures didn’t invest in Quixey, but Alibaba, U.S. Venture Partners, and plenty of others did. Most recently, the company raised a hefty $50 million round.
Google has said time and again that its goal is to index the world’s information — but it will be hard to do so if it never has direct access to the data within third-party apps and mobile services. Instead, Google’s solution has been to start competing with many of its partners so that it becomes a single source of information (see Google’s Zagat acquisition for just one example).
“We see our mission as a true mission,” Kagan said. “We see it as necessary, we see it as important — even if we don’t succeed, someone else will do this. This has to be successful, because the world I don’t want to live in is [one where] four years from now, I open an Android phone and it’s all Google.”
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