Taptu: from Search Engine to Social News Aggregator

Taptu was an ambitious "touch-friendly" mobile search engine that didn't stand a chance of competing with Google or Bing. So the company has wisely reinvented its core product as a "social news aggregator," My Taptu.

When I saw the new look and feel -- a scrolling grid of cards or tiles that can be customized with any content source -- it reminded me of Flipboard. "This isn't just an RSS reader," CEO and former Yahoo executive Mitch Lazar told me however. Indeed the company's search technology and assets support the new app, which is available now on Android and the iPhone. 

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Each tile offers a summary of the content, often together with an image and a link to "read on website." Clicking the link takes users to the original source. 

Content can be easily added or deleted from the rows and columns of scrolling tiles. Within sections users can quickly move through lots of content very smoothly. Overall it's a really useful and visually pleasing news reader -- although I think it can go even further in that direction.

In terms of the monetization question, one can easily imagine contextually relevant, sponsored tiles; so an ad-supported model is pretty obvious here. However Taptu's job is to drive adoption which can later be monetized.

This UI and approach would be arguably even more effective on the iPad, which would put My Taptu in direct competition with Flipboard and other visual news aggregators like Pulse.