In Android browser competition, Peanut offers secret sauce

Competing with Chrome, new Israeli-developed social browser for smartphones allows users to share comments on web pages with others in the Peanut gallery

Peanut browser in action (Courtesy)
Peanut browser in action (Courtesy)

It takes hutzpah to take on one of the biggest Internet companies in the world – so it’s unsurprising that the Peanut Browser, an Internet browser for Android devices, was developed in Israel. But, according to Yaakov Bergman, a founding partner of Peanut, “I think we can do well in this browser war.”

“We offer users something they can’t get anywhere else, so when they want to comment on web pages, make notations, or connect with friends on web pages, they can fire up the Peanut browser – using Chrome, Google’s Android browser, at other times,” said Bergman.

The Peanut browser – the name comes from the term “peanut gallery,” from where kibbitzers in the cheap seats traditionally throw in their two cents – allows users to make their own notations on web pages, for the benefit of other Peanut users.

It’s the most effective way to get the attention of others and point out to them an opinion, idea, or piece of useful information, according to Bergman.

“A talkback on a news story, for example, would require approval and might not show up for hours – or be relegated to a low spot on the list, making it unlikely that anyone would read it. And Facebook and other social media only reach your friends. With Peanut, any user can comment and reach other Peanut users who come across the page,” said Bergman. “Peanut is a second, transparent layer that lives in the browser, providing useful information and opinions to Peanut users.”

Although apps – actually extensions – to enable comments on web pages exist for desktop computers, Peanut is the first one to bring this technology to mobile devices.

“We kept this under the table until last week in order to prevent other, bigger companies from installing this capability into their browsers,” said Bergman. “We believe that the first one to market with this has the best chance of becoming the most popular. Waze, for example, was the first turn by turn directions app, and even though Google, Apple and others came out with their own apps, people got used to using Waze and maintained their loyalty. I think the same thing could happen with Peanut.”

Without fanfare, Peanut has already garnered thousands of users in Israel, and the app’s metrics are “growing nicely” every day, said Bergman. “We are also getting a lot of attention and recommendations on Facebook.” Most of the comments there are very positive. “Only a few said we were crazy to take on Google on its own Android platform.”

Although Google has the numbers, Bergman feels there’s a place at the table for Peanut, too. “There are over 1,000 browsers in Google Play, and many of them are quite popular, so we see that browsers can thrive, even in the shadow of Chrome. And few of those browsers, we feel, provide the added-value Peanut does. We are small but we bring a lot to the table. Mobile users are by nature more adventurous, so we believe we have a good chance of succeeding, despite the competition.”

read more: