What is the point of a phone based search engine?

beancounter

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So I just downloaded FF for Android. But just like like the default Google search on my phone, the web sites it pulls are all in the "computer screen" format, and the text is tiny and almost impossible to read.

And yes, I know about tapatalk and "native" phone apps, and I use them...

So my question is, what good are these search engines if they can't format the websites they pull to fit on a phone screen...and be readable (like a native app)? seems like a waste of phone memory.
 

Indian Summer

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It's not the browser's (FF, Chrome etc.) responsibility to fix the problem. It's up to the individual websites to detect what kind of device is accessing it and format their pages according to that.

Some websites, e.g. Facebook and some news papers, will detect that you're using a mobile device and format the pages in an attempt to better suit that. (VV also has a mobile style/skin, but I can't remember if you have to choose it manually or whether it kicks in automatically.)
 

beancounter

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It's not the browser's (FF, Chrome etc.) responsibility to fix the problem. It's up to the individual websites to detect what kind of device is accessing it and format their pages according to that.

Yea I agree. And since the vast majority of websites don't detect what device is being used, phone search engines are effectively useless.
 

Indian Summer

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Well, it depends on your phone's screen resolution, your patience and/or level of desperation as well, I guess. Sometimes when I'm out and about and realise I need to look up some information (like timetables for the bus) and I don't have a laptop, I will use my phone. But it's often quite frustrating.
 

RabbitLuvr

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I wouldn't call it useless. Even when some pages that show up on search results don't have a mobile format, at least the information is there if I need it. If I'm somewhere other than home and need to search for something, I can. I also find that the number of websites that offer an m version to be growing. Especially commercial sites.

I am pretty good about using native apps for some things - if I want quick info on a specific topic, I use the Wikipedia app, if I want a restaurant review I use the Yelp app, if I want medical info I use WebMD, etc.

I'd rather have access to info when I'm away from a computer, even if it's not in m. format, than not have access to it at all. And you can resize the view to make text at least readable, even if it's not as convenient as having it in mobile format.

It is definitely the website's responsibility to offer a mobile version. If you regularly come across sites that don't offer this, I would suggest that you find a contact link and send a little note to the site owner suggesting they offer a mobile version. They may not realize there is demand for it. (I try to do this, though I have gotten responses from a few people that basically boil down to "I don't have a smart phone so I refuse to make my site mobile compatible." Which I think is ridiculous, but whatever.)
 

K-II

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I always imagined phones that did this would just zoom in and out to facilitate using a website. Is there a reason they can't do that? It works quite well if you're doing something like adding details to an image with a resolution many times greater than your screen.
 

Indian Summer

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I always imagined phones that did this would just zoom in and out to facilitate using a website. Is there a reason they can't do that? It works quite well if you're doing something like adding details to an image with a resolution many times greater than your screen.
Yes, but it's fiddly and very inconvenient to read a text like that. Imagine having to read part of a line of text, then zoom out, pan right, zoom in again to read the next part of the line, zoom out, pan, ...

Additionally, graphics-heavy websites are nightmarish on smartphones, especially if you're on a slow connection (i.e. not wireless network, just the phone company's network.)
 

RabbitLuvr

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Yes, but it's fiddly and very inconvenient to read a text like that. Imagine having to read part of a line of text, then zoom out, pan right, zoom in again to read the next part of the line, zoom out, pan, ...

Additionally, graphics-heavy websites are nightmarish on smartphones, especially if you're on a slow connection (i.e. not wireless network, just the phone company's network.)

It is definitely fiddly and inconvenient. I used to be on a forum that I spent a lot of time on, did the paid membership for (even though they had zero perks for paid members), etc. Then I got an iPhone and started doing a significant portion of my web browsing from my phone, and discovered that the forum was not mobile compatible. I requested a mobile version of the site numerous times, but was told that their software didn't support it, and probably never would because the developer "didn't like" smart phones.
I let my membership expire and have been back to the site maybe three times since. This was three years ago, and they haven't had a single software update since then.
I'm FB friends with the forum owner, and she keeps trying to get me to go back, then gets pissy when I ask if it's m. compatible yet. :rolleyes:

Anyway. At least the info is there for people who don't mind fiddly and inconvenient. I do find that the number of websites offering a mobile version to be on the rise. Some that don't, use outdated formatting and software, and don't update frequetly, anyway. Sites that still use flash and don't offer mobile are setting themselves up for disadvantage, IMO.
 

kibbleforlola

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My smartphone automatically resizes text for mobile browsing. And if I find I have to zoom in further, it will reformat so that I don't have to scroll side to side to read the text. The only issue I've found is when something is quoted, say a quote in an article, or when somebody quotes another post on vv, it will reformat everything but the quote, so I do have to scroll side to side to read that.

All in all, I dont find it that inconvienient, but maybe that's just my phone.
 

RabbitLuvr

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My smartphone automatically resizes text for mobile browsing. And if I find I have to zoom in further, it will reformat so that I don't have to scroll side to side to read the text. The only issue I've found is when something is quoted, say a quote in an article, or when somebody quotes another post on vv, it will reformat everything but the quote, so I do have to scroll side to side to read that.

All in all, I dont find it that inconvienient, but maybe that's just my phone.

What phone do you have? I have iPhone and still sometimes run across sites that don't reformat for mobile. I often have to turn to landscape mode for a site to be readable, and then it's still not optimal.

EDIT: I checked some sites, and they do reformat to fit the mobile screen, but that makes the text too tiny for me to read, thus making it necessary for me to zoom and scroll.
 

AeryFairy

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought beancounter was just questioning the usefulness of a downloadable search engine app, not the usefulness of being able to use a search engine on a phone?

If a downloadable app offers no mobile-specific functions that provide a better searching experience, then is there any point in having it? I just use google from my browser app.
 
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led.boots

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My smartphone automatically resizes text for mobile browsing. And if I find I have to zoom in further, it will reformat so that I don't have to scroll side to side to read the text. The only issue I've found is when something is quoted, say a quote in an article, or when somebody quotes another post on vv, it will reformat everything but the quote, so I do have to scroll side to side to read that.

All in all, I dont find it that inconvienient, but maybe that's just my phone.
Me too. I don't find too many sites that I can't read easily. I have an android phone running 4.04.
 

beancounter

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought beancounter was just questioning the usefulness of a downloadable search engine app, not the usefulness of being able to use a search engine on a phone?

If a downloadable app offers no mobile-specific functions that provide a better searching experience, then is there any point in having it? I just use google from my browser app.

Yes to both points! thanks!
 

RabbitLuvr

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Oh, ok. Yeah, I don't see the point of using, for example, the Google app vs. just using Google search in Safari (FF/Chrome/whatever browser). I deleted the Google app from my phone long ago.
 

Indian Summer

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought beancounter was just questioning the usefulness of a downloadable search engine app, not the usefulness of being able to use a search engine on a phone?

If a downloadable app offers no mobile-specific functions that provide a better searching experience, then is there any point in having it? I just use google from my browser app.
Oh, I got it all wrong. Sorry!