Zcapes wants you to know what’s going on right now

Mon 16 February 2009 10:31, Bas van den Beld

Zcapes wants you to know what’s going on right now

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week will be the starting point of a lot of startups who are focusing on the mobile web. One of these startups is the Dutch Zcapes, which wants to “defeat Internet search engines for situational content”.

Zcapes is a mini blog platform for the mobile phone. It helps you to find information on your mobile about events that are going on right now. With that Zcapes thinks it can beat search engines who mostly don’t have real time information at hand.

In their press release founder Raimo van der Klein states: "There is no mobile search engine where you are able to find good results for 'Shopping in Amsterdam right now', let alone a service that has any inclination of my context. Zcapes fills this gap of context relevant and situational content. Zcapes will contain this information by helping people create it and provide it to others."


So how does it work? When you go to the Zcapes website you can set up a “Zcape”, which is a page built especially for an object. This can be either an event or for example a tv show which you want to watch as a group. The Zcape will cluster all information about the object you choose.

Setting up a Zcape is really like setting up a mobile webpage using widgets. The setting up of a Zcape is easy. Just fill in what you want your Zcape to be about and start adding ‘boxes’ to fill your page. Boxes are like widgets. You can add boxes for messages, searches in Twitter, Flickr or Members, add an RSS Feed, put in text etcetera. Your page is set up pretty quick. For example we made a Searchcowboys page right here: searchcowboys.zcapes.com.

The service has also got Twitter-like possibilities. For example you can follow Zcapes already made by others. But there is more. You can look for Zcapes near you, crawl through tags or recently made Zcapes. One thing that is really annoying is that once you made your Zcape it seems as if you cannot change it. I was quickly corrected on this one, you can change your Zcapes.

The service is I think best suited for events. You can gather information on events on a mobile webpage and find out all that is going on about the event. For example the upcoming SES London this week. We made a Zcape with which you can find out all about SES London: seslondon.zcapes.com.


As most of these services at first the business model is not clear. But unlike most others the Zcapes founders are very clear. On their about-page they state: “When we have users and builders we can see what models we can develop with them to pay for all the work we did. Like a premium model or very relevant advertising like coupons on a shopping street Zcape.
First we need to develop the service the boot strap way. Its still in beta. Develop it together with the users and build from that.

But is this really a ‘search engine killer’? I don’t think so. At least, not yet. It’s a very nice tool to cluster information on one subject. Yes, it ‘searches’ Twitter and Flickr but that’s about as much search as it is. A search through all zcapes doesn’t give back the content I was hoping for just yet, but maybe that’s a matter of time. After all, it only searches in Zcapes already made, not really on the web. Maybe in the future more search items will be added but for now it’s all about clustering. But the product certainly does have potential.

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