Phlo, from Mumbai-based developers Cynapse, is a tremendous meta-search tool for iOS that enables you to type your search query once and view results from multiple websites.
Simply open the app on your iPhone or iPad, type your query into the familiar looking search bar atop the page and hit search. You’ll then be greeted by results from whichever is your default site (Google is the automatic default).
But the app hasn’t only searched Google, it’s searched for your query across all of the wesites saved in Phlo’s memory – 30 are preloaded such as Google, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, Twitter, and other popular services.
That means you can simply select a different site from the sidebar on the iPad interface, or from the menu on the iPhone version, and you are presented with results from that site instantly.
From using the app for a little while, I’ve found it to work really well every time without a hiccup. Jumping between sites is easy and you can view all of your results just like you would in any web browser once you’ve found what you’re looking for. Links can even be saved directly to Safari’s Reading List which is neat.
What’s even better about Phlo is that you can add your own favourite websites that you regularly search. It’s a fairly easy process to add a new site and the instructions are clear. Simply copy the URL from a search on the desired site and replace the search term with dummy text to enable Phlo to insert your search term when using the app.
This may be a little fiddly for some, particularly non techie iOS users, but these users may be less likely to be searching across multiple sites anyway.
Phlo Sync, a free cloud service, enables you to keep all of your search histories and saved sites and have them synchronize across all of your devices (including their Mac and browser-based apps). This also works perfectly between iOS devices from my experience.
Phlo also looks great. It’s recently been updated to version 2.0 and has incorporated iOS 7’s new design language really nicely. It looks fairly similar to Apple’s own Safari in iOS 7 in terms of colours and white space.
I would have liked to have seen Phlo incorporate some of its own colour palette to stand out a bit more and hold some brand identity, maybe some of the colours from its icon.
As well as redesigning the interface and icon for iOS 7, Phlo has taken the opportunity to incorporate some new features and APIs to improve the experience such as AirDrop and Dynamic Type support as well as taking advantage of the 64-bit chip in the new iPhone 5s.
Overall, Phlo is a superbly executed idea that is packaged well too. It’s usable and useful in equal measure. If you think Phlo can make your workflow more efficient, or even save you a little time in your day-to-day web browsing, then it is an absolute bargain for $2.99/£1.99.