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Doo brings powerful and easy document search to OS X

Marco Tabini | March 14, 2013
In many ways, computer filesystems are relics of days gone by. Documents get lost, misplaced, and disappear seemingly without a trace. To further complicate things, almost everyone nowadays uses multiple devices, which forces us to play an even more complicated game of "Where did I put that file?"

Search and retrieval

Doo organizes documents according to a variety of automatic tags that identify their characteristics. In addition to analyzing common attributes like file type and creation date, the app can, for example, automatically detect the names of people, companies, and places mentioned in them, and even make a reasonably intelligent guess as to the nature of their contents.

These tags can then be used to construct a query together with free-form text, allowing you to, say, find all the résumés that mention a particular person, or the contracts that reference a particular place, and so on, adding a layer of knowledge that goes well beyond what Spotlight can do.

Doo's OCR capabilities come in very handy here, as they are able to find references inside documents that are not normally well-indexed by other search engines. As an example, during my tests I found a scan of a contract from several years back that I thought had gone completely lost (alas, Doo would have been very useful a year ago, when I was actually looking for that agreement).

Cloud features

In addition to its uncanny ability to index and retrieve documents, Doo comes with a feature called Doo Cloud that allows the app to back up the documents you choose to cloud storage so that they can become accessible from other devices on which Doo is installed. This premium feature comes with a free gigabyte of storage; additional space will be available at prices ranging from $5 to $25 a month, although the publisher hasn't yet announced a launch date.

At the moment, this feature is really only useful if you happen to own multiple Macs--like, say, one at home and one at work--and can't easily sync data between them using another method, such as iCloud or Dropbox. As Doo becomes available on more platforms, however, the ability to automatically collect, index, and keep documents on all of them synchronized should come in very handy when you need to get quick access to a document while on the road without your computer.

Bottom line

All in all, Doo is an excellent product already above the competition in how it combines simplicity of use with power. Still, it's a product that can, right now, only be adopted with an eye towards the future. In the immediate, its usefulness is limited by lack of support for iOS and Android, where Doo's cloud feature would be most useful, and also by the kinks that inevitably affect new products and still need to be worked out.

With a little patience, however, you will find that Doo has the potential to dramatically change the way you organize and find your data, and it can only get better as it grows into a fully mature product. Doo is free and can be downloaded directly from the App Store or from its publisher's website.

 

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