Today I’ve selected HeyStaks Social Search HD for my latest Android tablet app review. HeyStaks is a free newly released community-based search app which is designed to bring you more personalized & relevant search results and help you find what you’re looking for a lot faster.
This app was reviewed and tested on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Android tablet.
Let’s Talk Tablets Android App Review
You’ve all experienced it before, probably more times than you could ever count; you’re searching for answers and resources on major search engines such as Google or Bing and find yourself lost in the endless pile of irrelevant websites that couldn’t be further away from what it is you’re seeking.
The Android tablet app I’ve decided to review today is praised as being the ultimate easy to use one-stop solution to eliminate the majority of this clutter and confusion by helping you find what you’re looking for quicker and hassle free. With that said, let’s see how HeyStaks Social Search HD shapes up for first time users on Android based tablets.
I’ll be completely honest, at first glance when I initially installed this app and used it for the first time I couldn’t understand what all the hype was about. It didn’t seem to me like it was much different than searching for things on major search engines using any common web browser. I was determined to search deeper however to see what really makes this app so special.
As you can see by the following screenshot I took the interface of this Android app is rather basic, but of course I suppose that’s the whole point. The overall design is very clean and simple, which is part of the whole approach. This app was not developed to be stunning with visual appeal, rather it was designed & created to use as little of your hardware resources as possible and instantly deliver relevant search results. You have to admit in some cases such as this one there’s a lot to be said for simplicity. What I’m saying is, the more simple the better and the HeyStaks team have done a wonderful job in this department.
When I clicked, I mean tapped (forgive me I had a flashback there from way back in 2010) on the “Settings” button for the first time I wasn’t exactly impressed or blown away either. There are 2 different tabs, one for “Search Engines” and another for “Search Communities”. The “Search Engines” tab basically gives you the option to choose “Bing” or “Google” as your default search engine.
Despite my first impressions, which are good overall but still questionable in some areas, on the HeyStaks website there have been several positive testimonials from quite a few fairly large and reputable companies so I decided to give this app the benefit of the doubt. I was determined to dissect this app even further and carry on with my review. Besides, a company that has acquired €1 million in equity funding from a major bank must have something more to bring to the table than an app that simply imports search results that can already be found on major search engines.
A Closer Look
As I fiddled around with this app a bit more I, slowly but surely, began to realize the whole meaning and true value of their “search less find more” slogan. I currently live near London, Ontario so I made it my mission to base all of my searches for that area. After all this app is geared towards creating a more personalized search result experience, right?
After a few different search queries I noticed a “Travel” community icon so I tapped it and immediately, without any prompt along the lines of “Would you like to join?”, noticed a check mark above the icon. This was now included in my list of “Search Communities”. See the screenshot below for example.
I realized afterwards that you can leave or opt out of desired communities by going to the main page, clicking on “Settings” and then tapping the icon or community of your choice. See the screenshot below.
I was a bit skeptical at first and confused about what exactly determines that these are in fact relevant search results. As it turns out, once you are visiting a particular page you can share that link via email or Twitter and the app places that URL for higher consideration when other people, including those on your contact list, search for similar things, depending which communities you have joined. At least that’s the impression I get.
Fair enough, the more I used this app the more it began to make sense. I’m still not completely convinced it’s the end all be all of social search solutions, but I do see a few advantages of an app like this.
I did plenty of other searches for various different things all based in the London, Ontario area and numerous times got results related to Toronto which has absolutely nothing at all to do with what I was searching for. If I wanted results for the Toronto area, well guess what, I would search specifically for topics related to Toronto, imagine that? I don’t mean to sound negative, but once again I’m back at square one having to sift and sort through countless links that are in no way, shape or form related to what I’m looking for.
In all fairness to the developers though, I take it this is a matter of requiring more people to get involved and being as the app is still fairly new, at least the Android version, it will take time for relevant topics and search results to grow. I’m sure certain locations and topics have matured in this area more than others. I just felt that in order to do an honest review, I would pick queries that are relevant to me and my location.
HeyStaks Social Search HD Key Features
Basically, the main target and goal for this Android tablet app (which is also available for iOS devices and Android mobile phones) is to help make your Bing and Google searches more relevant. Please note, this app is not an actual search engine, rather a tool used to parse results using community sourced content to create what are known as “search staks”.
For example, if you are searching for the best or most affordable hotels in your area or perhaps even somewhere far away at a location where you are planning to take a vacation, this app helps to simplify your search. It also enables you to improve search results for others based on your findings by allowing you to share or recommend what you come across.
It’s a social app geared towards putting you more in the drivers seat to help improve search for both yourself as well as others instead of having to rely on typical default results.
- Helps you find more relevant search results.
- Clean, simple and overall good UI design.
- Presents you with better and more trusted search results.
- Loads quick and runs very smooth.
- Only compatible with 2 major search engines.
- No matter what you’re searching for, previous search query results often show up on new search result pages even though they are totally irrelevant to your new search.
Suggestions For Improvements
- Would be nice if you could tap the search icon on the main search page instead of having to press “Enter”.
- Would be a great improvement to add Google+ and/or Facebook to the list of sharing options.
- Would help if the app developers made it more clear to people regarding how exactly one can go about starting brand new communities to be included.
- Perhaps it would be possible for future updates of the app to offer the option to use more than one search engine at a time. It already has “Google”, “Bing” or the name of particular communities above individual search results so it would still be easy enough for people to distinguish where the result came from.
To be honest I can see a bright future for this app but believe there’s a lot of room for improvement. I also don’t see exactly how it is all that different from the whole Google+ system or concept. I must give credit to the company though and also be fair by saying they had this idea in mind long before Google+ even went public. However, I do believe this app has potential and just needs to catch on a bit more in order to make it a great success. Let’s be fair and realistic, this app hasn’t been available for very long and no good solution happens overnight. I would recommend this app to other people and encourage them to do their best to improve search results and strengthen the communities that are a big driving force for this app.
With the state of search engines today, we have come a long way but still have a long way to go. I think I speak for countless other people when I say that even in this day in age with all of the advancements over the years it still happens all too often that we get the runaround. What I mean is, we are all too often mislead and guided to sites that certainly don’t belong near the top of the search results. It is rather mind boggling why even in 2011 this is still the case.
Either way, it’s imperative that this situation improves one way or another and I must commend the clever and talented staff at HeyStaks for their marvelous efforts. There’s no doubt that what they are attempting to do is very positive and potentially useful for many people worldwide. Searching various topics should be more fun, relevant and rewarding rather than the chore it has become. Kudos to companies like HeyStaks who are at the forefront of making these much needed changes and improvements a reality.
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