Shrunq: a better mobile-phone browser

Jason Uechi, who programmed the insanely cool application “red | blue” — which lets you use a GPS-enabled phone to detect who nearby you is donating to which political party — has come out with another excellent app: Shrunq. It’s a web browser for mobile phones, and it solves some of the usability problems that currently plague most phone browsers.

For example, most browsers “chunk” text up — breaking each page into dozens of tiny subpages, which turns reading short documents into a huge hassle. Shrunq, in contrast, doesn’t chunk: It gives you the whole page at once, or as much of it as will fit in your phone’s memory.

But Shrunq has tons more neat features, incuding my favorite:

Another feature to quiet my chunkaphobia is a feature I’ve awkwardly called “Skip To Content” — which is a simple action that jumps you down the page to “meaningful” blocks of text. What do I mean by “meaningful”? Often at the start of a web page there are many short links and blurbs for navigation, so this feature analyzes content as it streams in, and identifies longer lines of text. Any click on “Skip to Content” jumps you down to the next spot with a longer line of text — usually more “meaningful” content.

That’s tres smart. Perhaps more awesome yet is the fact that when Jason gives examples of several web pages as seen through Shrunq, one of them is Collision Detection — as pictured above. Woo!

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson