A classic and a gigantic problem of the “Web” (existing for decades): hopping between windows, tabs or Apps!
Vurb at the Disrupt NY 2014 Finals pitched themselves, to be solving this problem through “contextual bridging” based on user’s browsing pattern, queries, search etc.
Fred Wilson made some heated (with humor) comments on stage: “This problem is a bitch, you won’t solve it, and it will kill you,” he said.
“Vurb is a web and mobile contextual search engine. When you type a query in Vurb, you get everything you need without having to leave the search engine.”
“Snapchat could help you organize a night out with friends or get a digest of the day’s news thanks to its acquisition of mobile search startup Vurb.”
Unfortunately, rewiring people’s behavior patterns around search proved too difficult, even if Google wasn’t built for mobile.
Vurb struggled for mass traction, and sold to Snapchat.
Our review on Vurb’s 2014 public pitch (the then):
The approach, as socialized, can get them a long way but would only improve things to an extent and also may create a wrong illusion of things which would get stretched for “Vurb”’s or the doer’s business goals.
We got to design, integrate and unite at a much deeper level and then little below the surface put those ‘contextual bridges kinda thingys’ on top of a cohesive-ed base.
It would be interesting to know as they uncover ‘what won’t work’ and ‘what would’ – subsequent incumbents can learn from them hopefully.
This problem is a truly wicked one! In Fred’s words: ‘is a bitch’ and one that is very painful for users!