A Quick Orientation to Cloud Search

[This article originally appeared on Law Technology News, October 16, 2013]

Search is an integral tool for law practice. We use search every day to find information, whether it is with Google on the web, our legal research subscription, or looking for a file on our desktop. Cloud search on your mobile device can give you fast access to relevant files, email, and more when you’re on the go.

There was a bit of a surge in cloud search a few years back when Greplin appeared. It morphed into Cue, a web-based option that also had an iOS app — but shut down on Oct. 1. Within days, several news outlets reported that Apple Inc. had agreed to purchase the company, speculating that it would be integrated into iOS7, to beef up Siri and better compete with Google Now.

CloudMagic has been around for a few years. It is joined now by Peoplematics‘ FindIt, which has just added an Android app to its iOS offering and whose web-based search is in beta.

Each of these apps and their corresponding web search options is distinguished by the cloud services they support, cost, and their interface. Otherwise, the concept is the same: index content across many different cloud sites and return search results. For instance, I could search using my FindIt app and retrieve e-mails in Google GMail as well as texts of my Twitter messages or Microsoft Word documents stored in Dropbox.

These apps can save you the time of figuring out where you placed something. Even if files are synchronized from your computer to the cloud, it saves you from using a Windows or Mac desktop search, which you then have to repeat in your email program or elsewhere.

CloudMagic has the broader selection of cloud services available to search. Peoplematics isn’t far behind. You can get a free account with either one to search Google Apps (or apps): Mail, Drive, Contacts, and Calendar.

Once CloudMagic has returned your results, it limits your ability to preview the actual document unless you have a premium account. Even with a free account, though, you can subscribe to as many services as you like. FindIt doesn’t have any limits on results but only offers connections to Google apps and Dropbox at this point.

Peoplematics indicates on its site that it is following a freemium path, a common software-as-a-service model. Right now it has a FindIt app for iOS and Android. CloudMagic has iOS and Android apps too, as well as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Windows 8 and Phone and Web browser extensions.

If you are relying on cloud-based services to store your law practice information, cloud search can save you time in retrieving relevant documents.

David Whelan is manager of legal information for the Law Society of Upper Canada. Email: dwhelan@lsuc.on.ca.
Read more: http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202623285944&A_Quick_Orientation_to_Cloud_Search_Tools_#ixzz2kjD6OlzU

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