Back in the day before Snow Leopard, there was a lovely little search replacement for Safari called Inquisitor. Back in may of 2008, Yahoo! acquired the rights to Inquisitor, and ported the browser extension to Firefox and IE. Unfortunately, due to changes in the Snow Leopard version of Safari, Inquisitor no longer works in Apple’s browser.
About a year later, this handy little app was also made into an iPhone app, which was a quick and easy way to perform a search on the iPhone. Seriously, it was fast and didn’t seem to require as many taps to get things done. However, just as Inquisitor faded into obscurity on Snow Leopard equipped Macs, a change in iPhone OS 3.0 caused Inquisitor to type everything in the search bar in all caps. This didn’t appear to affect search results, but as Yahoo! never addressed the issue, it looked as if this app would be neglected.
(I’ll admit that I am a stickler for perfection, and an annoying all caps bug was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. I quit using the app solely for this reason. Yes, I’m a snob)
It appears that Yahoo! has breathed new life into everything but the Inquisitor brand. On March 23, 2010, Yahoo! released Yahoo! Search, and you can definitely tell this app’s daddy is Inquisitor. The similarities are unmistakable. See for yourself.
Even the icon is similar, with only color changes being the obvious difference.
But differences are abundant between the two apps. The new Yahoo! Search can display maps as you search. Entering Starbucks as a search term yielded (ironically) a Google map (I assume using the built in iPhone Maps API) showing Starbucks stores nearly my current location. Enter a stock symbol such as AAPL and you’ll see the current stock price and whether it has gone up or down. Enter a movie title and see showtimes at theaters near you.
Overall, it is refreshing to see the Inquisitor app live on in this new name. I do, however, find it odd that the original Inquisitor iPhone app is still available on the App Store. As for Inquisitor for web browsers, I haven’t kept up on the news of its support for Firefox and IE (as I don’t use those browsers) but I think it is safe to say that the Safari version has reached the end of its life. And that is truly a shame.
I honestly think it is too bad that Apple didn’t acquire the technology long ago. Hopefully Yahoo! can keep it alive.