Search startup blekko launched an app Friday called Izik (pronounced Isaac) designed for search on tablets. The app aims to take consumers from exploratory content in front of the television to task-oriented actions for everyday use.
Izik's interface uses blekko's search technology to deliver that experience for Android and iOS devices, but it supports Windows 8 on convertible tablets, such as the Sony Duo.
blekko's team began developing Izik as a combined tablet and mobile app, but decided to launch two different versions. The smartphone app will launch later this quarter.
Izik will support image-text ads similar to those seen on Amazon.com or Google Product Listing Ads. Michael Markson, blekko vice president of marketing, said clearly identified ads will look similar to content, complete with pricing information.
Initially, the company will tap into existing networks such as Amazon, but will eventually build out its own, Markson said. He expects the ads to perform "exceptionally" well based on a click model.
NPD Display Search estimates that 80 million tablets will ship in North America this year. Some 25% of Americans ages 16 and older own a tablet such as iPad or Kindle Fire as of November 2012 -- up from 10% in late 2011, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Marketers focusing on content and images in 2013 will find the tablet app a strategic fit. Tying a query into the search box generates a list of categories and images that match specific keywords. The app provides a variety of results, similar to what someone searching would find on Google, Bing or Yahoo.
The search engine, known for slashtag technology aimed at ridding spam from search query results, also launched the social site Rockzi in 2012, which supports the blekko search engine. Both support Izik, which will soon offer social sharing.
Blekko's team supports the company with experience from Google, Netscape, and AOL. Aside from Ashton Kutcher, investors include Russian search engine Yandex, private equity and investment firms MLC Private Equities, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Capital, PivotNorth Capital, and Marc Andreessen, among others.