Getfugu. This mishmash of services will be launching next month with one goal in mind: keep mobile users from having to type in their mobile searches using the keyboard.What do you get when you combine an image recognition app with voice search, local content, and a touch-screen advertising service called "hot-spotting?" Apparently you get the next generation of mobile search from a company named
The Getfugu mobile offering actually encompasses four different types of search services which they describe simply as "see it," "say it," "find it," and "get it." Each one is a different take on how mobile search can work on your phone.
- "See it" is an image recognition application that works with your phone's camera. To use this service, you point the camera at any company's logo and snap a picture to get exclusive content from that company. The content could be mobile discounts and coupons or simply information about some sort of special promotion.
- "Say it" is a voice recognition search service, similar to that of Google's mobile app which lets you speak your query into the phone. Getfugu's web site recommends you use this service "if a logo isn't handy." You can either say brand names or you can say generic keywords like "pizza" or "ATM." Either way, the service isn't really designed as a Google replacement - it's designed to help you find things when you're out and about.
- "Find it" is Getfugu's location-based service which taps into the GPS of your phone to return results based on proximity. It's unclear as to whether this service will work in conjunction with the voice search or whether it will be a standalone service.
- "Get it" refers to Getfugu's unique search service called "hot-spotting." This function is limited to touchscreen devices and involves interactive video content. When you watch a video on your phone, any item within the video can be "hot-spot enabled" so that when it's touched, you're offered more information about that item and given a chance to purchase it.
Not Just a Search Tool
As to where these videos come from, it appears that Getfugu will distribute those themselves along with games and ringtones and other mobile content. Yes, you see, Getfugu doesn't just want to be a mobile search tool, they want to be a mobile content distribution platform as well.
But wait, there's more! When you watch mobile ads on Getfugu's service, you can apparently earn cash for doing so. After earning a bunch of cash for being the good little consumer that you are, you can then use your customized Getfugu debit card to spend the money. Yes, a debit card. You see, Getfugu's sort of like a bank, too.
As to how Getfugu plans to make money? It's all dependent on advertisers. Small businesses pay $9.99 and businesses with 10 or more employees (apparently that's a big business now?) pay $99 per month to get their logo or a single keyword in the Getfugu search engine. For each keyword or additional logo, the company will have to pay those same fees again. In the mobile hot-spotting service, revenue is split 50/50 with the advertiser.
Is This Really Going to Work?
We think it's great that Getfugu is attempting to bundle the different types of searches into one app in order to make it easier to find local content and we especially love the fact that they're incorporating an augmented reality application ("see it") in the mix. That being said, it seems like the service is overly dependent on advertisers to make things work and without their involvement, will there even be any search results displayed? If not, then the service will immediately pale to that of Google Maps, for instance, which can instantly show businesses, their proximity to you, and directions. You may not get coupons with Google Maps, but at least you get a comprehensive listing.
Besides the immediate challenge of dealing with the Google factor, Getfugu confuses us. What exactly do they want to be? A search app? A place to get games, ringtones, and videos? A pay-you-to-watch-ads service? You don't often see those offerings combined in one application (and probably for good reason). Their "we're all that and the kitchen sink, too" offering may be just a bit too ambitious.
Still, we guess we'll reserve our final judgment until the service actually launches next month. If you want to be notified when that occurs along with us, there's a sign-up form on the Getfugu web site.