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Search engine tailors results for Apple & Android tablets

SAN FRANCISCO--The makers of Blekko believe they've built a great alternative to Google, but they're also realistic. They know their 2-year-old Internet search engine won't ever supplant Google as the most popular place to search on laptop and desktop computers.

But Web surfing on tablet computers is a different matter, creating an opportunity that Blekko hopes to exploit with a new product called Izik — a search engine designed especially for Apple Inc.'s iPads and tablets running Google's Android software.

Izik, whose name is a riff on 17th-century scientist Isaac Newton, debuted Friday with the release of free apps for the iPad and Android tablets.

To cater to the more visual format of tablets, Izik displays search results in rows of information capsules that can be easily scrolled with a swipe of a finger. Users scroll vertically to look at different categories related to a search request. Scrolling horizontally displays more capsules within each category, which vary depending on the request.

Blekko CEO and founder Rich Skrenta likens the experience to a hybrid service that is part search engine, part magazine and part discovery tool. Izik also shares some similarities to a tablet search app called Axis that longtime Google rival Yahoo Inc. released last May in an attempt to shake up the market. Like Izik, Axis also relies on visual thumbnails to list search results.

Izik's system is much different from Google's.

Entering “Apple” into Izik on Friday produced a set of results sorted into these easily navigable categories: “Top Results,” “Images,” “Recipes,” “News,” “Reviews,” and “Tech.” Most of the information and pictures either pertained to Apple the company or the fruit.

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This undated image provided by Blekko on Friday, Jan. 4 shows a computer tablet screen with a page from their new Izik search engine. Blekko has designed the new product especially ...

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