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Webaroo Offers a New Take on Mobile Search

Silicon Valley startup Webaroo is angling for position in the search industry with an approach that is based on storage capacity.

The company has introduced a software service that allows laptop and handheld users to search a portion of the Web without an Internet connection.

It’s entirely different from the wireless Web solutions that typically accompany mobile devices, company founder Rakesh Mathur told TechNewsWorld.

“We want to make it possible for as many people as possible to search and browse the Internet anywhere, anytime,” he said. There is still a huge gap that wireless service does not cover,” he noted. “Two billion people use cell phones. One billion use the Internet — but very few people use the Internet on mobile devices.”

Slice of the Web

The underlying concept is similar to that employed by CRM or sales force mobile applications that allow sales reps to work while on the road and then synch with a database back at the office.

Webaroo servers crawl the Internet selecting a sampling of pages to fit the storage capacity of a given device. Users can either download Webaroo and selected content — say a search of London’s city facilities — onto their laptop or mobile device, or they can purchase such a device with Webaroo already bundled on it.

Acer, for instance, has announced that it will bundle the application on its laptops. Content is updated whenever a user reconnects to the Internet.

Like an offline sales force application, Webaroo does not provide the same range and scope of data as a connected device.

The key to making the application work is providing users with the ability to download what they need from the Internet in small chunks or slices, Mathur said.

Future Possibilities

Web packs created by Webaroo have been optimized to provide this data in the smallest storage size, the company said. It determines the content value based on the diversity, relevancy and quality of the pages.

Webaroo expects to introduce include greater customization features, along with advertising models, in a future release. The company also plans to provide search results tailored to the user’s profile, and to offer advertisers the ability to reach prospects and customers on their laptops and mobile devices even when they’re not connected.

Mathur sees the application as complementary or supplementary to the wireless Internet services available today.

“We are not saying this is an either/or choice: Come with us or go with a wireless provider,” he said. “What we are saying is, if you don’t happen to have a connection at that particular moment, you can still use the Internet.”

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