Wundrbar: ‘feeling lucky’ meets quicksilver?

I’m checking out wundrbar, which launched in March, and I’m thinking, OK, so how is this so special? It keeps sending me to google. I can do that in my toolbar. After a little exploring, I like it. I’ll keep it. Here’s a glimpse of me learning what it does as I tried the examples on the home page to figure out the deal.

query: ‘fly southwest bdl sjc’
screen shot of wundrbar search for flight information

As you enter terms, it starts displaying the type of results you’re going to get. When I added a second date it switched to round-trip. (That took me a few searches to figure out.) It unfortunately doesn’t remember what I searched previously. It ignores the ‘southwest’ in my query, defaulting to expedia, and offering a few alternatives. When I hit enter, I go right to the Expedia results. No ridiculous airline interface. woot.

query: ‘wikipedia joe strummer’
Why is this better than searching wikipedia in my firefox search box? Ooooo… If you add the wundrbar search engine to the firefox search box and leave that active, then you don’t have to click the drop-down arrow to switch to wikipedia. I’ll take it.

query: ‘netflix great lebowski’
screen shot of wundrbar netflix add to queue
[Note: wundrbar asks for my netflix login information. Now I see why I needed to create an account. Their privacy policies indicate that they will not share email address or other personal information with third parties. Still, I don’t usually trust third party sites with my logins. Let alone one I _just_ met. I don’t see any way to remove my stored passwords. I’ll be changing my passwords in a minute, but that’s a shame because I’m getting attached.]
Back to the query at hand. Wundrbar corrects my title and adds The Big Lebowski to my queue. Double woot. Now I want to tell it to move a flic to the top of my queue.

query: ‘create vodka drinks’
Now it gets funny–a little like voice dictation missing the mark. I see in the wundrbar blog they suggest “create drinks tonight 9pm with john.” I think, “Cool I’m interested in drink recipes,” so I try this myself. Wundrbar graciously created an appointment on my Google calendar for right now to “create vodka drinks.” Woops! Need to be careful with this tool.

After further exploration, I find that there are settings where you can set preferred search sources for different types of keywords. There’s an action list that offers hints to the types of searches and their sources, but I can’t really tell what the keywords are. Wundrbar describes themselves as a bit like Quicksilver for the web, but I think they’ve got a ways to go to earn that moniker.

4 Comments

  1. ngrandy Says:

    Hi,
    Nick from Wundrbar here. Thanks for the positive and thoughtful writeup! It’s great to read about your process of discovering Wundrbar. One of the challenges we’re facing is how to communicate quickly what wundrbar is, because as far as we know there’s nothing quite like it.

    We are about to launch a big update that will make Wundrbar customizable and extensible – it will be very cool.

    As for your concerns about privacy, we’re very aware of these issues. Currently we do not save any external usernames or passwords – eg, for netflix, we sign in as you, and then store a cookie on our database. So we only handle the username/password temporarily. In the future, we will give people the option of having us store their usernames and passwords. It’s basically a tradeoff between privacy and convenience, and each user has a different point of comfort.

    The next release will also have a clearer index of keywords / commands.
    Best,
    Nick

  2. beck Says:

    From your vodka example, it could be “Feeling lucky” meets “be careful what you wish for.” :)

  3. Trauts Says:

    It seems wundrbar is a little forward to presume you’d like to create drinks with the ambiguous character, John. This is a situation perhaps best avoided–careful use indeed recommended.

  4. strottrot Says:

    @ngrandy–
    Ah! That’s great to know about the cookie vs. actually storing the un/pw. I’ve continued to use wundrbar & am enjoying it. Nice work!

    @trauts–
    vf. wundrbar’s blogger had drinks with John (Doe?). I was on my own. ^_^

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