Most people stick with whatever default browser came with their phone, be it Safari or Chrome. That’s a shame, because there are a lot of compelling options out there, like Cake Browser, which re-imagines how search can work on mobile.
Cake Browser’s genius is that it makes a single assumption: most times when you search for something, the first result is the one you actually care about. So, why don’t you just go to that, rather than look at a page of results, the majority of which you don’t care about?
That’s basically how Cake Browser works. After you type your query and hit ‘return’, it takes you to the first result Google (or Bing. Cake Browser isn’t picky) returns. If that’s not what you’re looking for, you just have to swipe right until you reach the result you want.
All that swiping fees slightly reminiscent of Tinder, don’t you think?
As you’d expect, searching for “The Next Web” with Cake Browser takes you to our homepage. Swipe right, and you’ll see three of the top news stories we’ve published. From what I can tell, these are the top three stories shown in Google’s results, rather than ones specifically selected by the app.
After that, you’re taken to TNW’s Tech subcategory, which is easily one of the most active categories on the site in terms of reporting. The subsequent two results are our Facebook and Flickr pages.
Cake Browser’s novel approach to search feels slicker than the Exxon Valdez, and is vastly less exhausting than perpetually dipping in-and-out of Google results in order to find the page you care about.
Another thing: Cake Browser pre-loads pages before you actually open them. When you search for something, it’ll automatically cache the first three results. As you swipe through, it’ll continue to automatically pre-load subsequent results, so you aren’t left twiddling your thumbs waiting for the page to appear on your screen.
This worked really well for me, both on LTE and Wi-Fi. That said, I note that I live in a city with excellent 4G coverage, and I deliberately pay for a phone plan with a generous data allowance. I wonder how useful I’d find Cake Browser if that wasn’t the case.
It’s also worth noting that Cake Browser lets you search for things besides websites. You can choose to refine your query to just videos, shopping, images, or news.
These work a little differently, and don’t take you immediately to the top result. When I looked up “Deadpool” under the shopping category, it didn’t take me to the Blu-Ray of Deadpool on Amazon, but rather to to Google Shopping.
I swiped right and hit Amazon, but only Amazon’s search results. And then Wal-Mart’s results. You get the idea.
Similarly, if you search for “Despacito” under videos, you don’t go straight to the Latin toe-tapper, but instead the first page of YouTube’s results.
I’d love it if Cake Browser came with a feature that told it to head straight to the first search result, regardless of the category you’re searching in. Alas, I couldn’t find that anywhere.
These are minor bugbears. The bulk of all search results I make are for web pages, and not videos or products. Overall I found Cake Browser to be a time-saver. I’d type my query, and about 90 percent of the time I’d immediately get the result I was interested in.
Admittedly, the UI feels a bit clunky, but that’s easy to forgive when you consider it’s still early days for scrappy new browser. At this nascent stage, you’d except it to be a bit rough around the edges.
The company has also announced a $5 million pre-Series A funding round, lead by Peak Ventures and with Pelion Venture Partners and Kickstart Seed Fund also taking part, in order to bring its browser vision to full fruition.