Beta Byte: Scout



ScoutBeta Byte is a new series for the early stage tech that lies somewhere between idea and traction. Exciting. Awkward. Raw.  Are you in this phase?

What is the name of the company and/or product?

What is the customer value proposition? What business problem is being solved?
To get answers with Google faster. You can view 5 results in 5 clicks, and that’s power. You don’t have to constantly use the back button to view other search results, or open everything in a million tabs. It’s just incrementally easier.

What is the vision?
Become the goto and dominant layout of search for tablets and desktop, and enable collaborative and social searching. I know a lot of people that would like me to help them Google stuff.

When did development start?
For a long time with Google, I’ve had an itch where I just want to click the ‘…’ at the end of the black snippit and continue reading. I discovered a far better layout. This incarnation of this project and current codebase started in August.

Who is on the team?
Myself, Devin Rhode, with the help of an absolutely fantastic graphic artist, Matt McVeigh. I also reach out for help and feedback from various people in the community when necessary.

What is the target “launch” date?
We don’t do that. We’ll release it when it’s ready and when it’s right. No saying when that is. Very likely to be within the next 3 months though.

What is your greatest strength?
Scout works with how you already search in Chrome: right from the address bar. Google all the way!

The team’s greatest strength lies in our young ambition, and our relentless pursuit of perfection. We know that search is outdated and needs to be evaluated again. This is one solution, and we are striving to make it the best solution.

What is your biggest weakness?
Google pooping on us – seriously they could break the extension just by updating their search page.

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies, framework, languages, etc. that makes Scout run? Is there any IP?
The homepage is mostly all javascript in comparison to css, html, or php. Php is used on the backend for ajax functionality. On the homepage, everything is raw javascript, and the logo is base64 encoded – WebP for Chrome users ;) . I also heavily use the css3 transition property on everything. Scout itself will also use a new ‘smartframes’ iframe alternative I’m working on. I’d expect this to be adopted by all major news sites like linkedin, stumbleupon, etc. as a way to put, say, nytimes articles in an iframe. This is done by page scraping and manually inserting the html instead of setting the src (source) url.  I also spent numurous weeks eliminating any flicker with the extension, meaning the normal google search page doens’t flash before the modified version appears. It seems as if Google itself has changed. We only use the iframe versions of social plugins, because that’s what the javascript versions do anyway, and very carefully add them to ensure the smoothest animations on the homepage.

What is the a revenue model? How big is the market?
Even the most popular chrome extension has 3 million users, so the market is not all that big. For now we are considering the traditional freemium model, but we’d really like to be acquired by Google to augment adwords in a way that specifically takes advantage of the new layout Scout introduces. Essentially qualified advertisers could be the first site that Scout offers as an answer, much like Siri was planning on doing before it’s acquisition by Apple.

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?
Someone that knows how to crawl the web and build an index aided by Selenium (an automated web browser). Or an acquisition by Google, whichever comes first.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Enter your email on our new homepage and you can follow Devin on twitter @DevinRhode2 .


  • Devin Rhode

    This is finally released as of a week ago, feedback has been great and engagement stats have been way up and then back down. This is because some days you search a lot and some days not at all, so I’m working on implementing more advanced metrics on different factors.

    I guarantee you’ll find answers with Google faster, go get it now:

    • Jeff Pesek

       Nice, Devin – are you still living in MN?