I’ve noticed that my files are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. It seems to me that every time there’s a great “new” way to sync or share files between devices, it just adds another step to the problem instead of providing an easier solution. (And no matter what Apple says about iCloud, it’s not helping the problem.)
The solution gets worse once you add in email, because those attachments are just sitting there in storage. Thankfully, though, there are some small mercies: Peoplematics has developed a real solution with FindIt, a beautiful and easy-to-use app that should make life a lot simpler for file hoarders. Read on to find out more.
What is FindIt?
FindIt is a unique way to search for files across multiple services without having to actually think too much about it. Instead of searching with keywords, you’re searching based on people and file type and date. And these three often intersect.
The example FindIt provides is one where you need to find a resumé from the past year or so. You start by searching for the term “resumé,” and then can easily select some modifiers. I did the search on myself and searched for resumés only I have emailed in the past year. I also elected to search only for documents instead of any other attachments, which meant I got PDF, .doc and .pages results from the past year from my own Gmail account. It took about five seconds to do.
The beauty of this system is that it is ridiculously fast. There’s no waiting around, and it’s quick and easy to find whatever it is you’re looking for. It even includes an in-app preview of a document. You get thirty of those a month, and by recommending the service to five contacts, you can up that to an unlimited amount of previews for a year.
When you’ve found the document that you need, you can tap a Share button or Reply/Forward the email or document to other people, further enhancing the app’s utility.
Setting Up Your FindIt Account
Setting things up with the service is as easy as punching in your credentials. FindIt currently works with Gmail, Dropbox and Google Docs. It searches all three services very quickly, but there’s no way to select a service that you want to search independently. In other words, if I’m searching for “resumé” again and I want to find a document from 2012 in my Dropbox folder specifically, there’s no way to do that. I have to sift through all the results.
The app does allow for multiple accounts, but it only allows for them on these three services. Unfortunately, there’s no iCloud or SkyDrive or Box integration — not yet, anyway. That’s a mild bump in the road, though, since I think most people are going to be covered with the app’s services. That being said, it’s a bit of a shame it doesn’t work with other email providers (or simply all email solutions). I’d love to be able to search a Fastmail account as well.
For what it is, though, people within this ecosystem are going to be pleased with the setup and use process. It’s a piece of cake, and it looks great.
FindIt is one of those apps that had me gasp a little when I opened it. For an app I would consider utilitarian, I didn’t expect anything so preoccupied with function to also be so obviously aesthetically beautiful.
In fact, the app is very iOS 7-like. It’s got hints of transparency and is going to blend in really well with that ecosystem. Everything about it simply looks stellar.
The design aids the search process and makes the entire thing feel a lot faster and easier, if only because it’s obvious what buttons do. This is one of those apps where everything is thought out, and although I consider it part of my job to tap things to find out what they do, I found that I was really tapping things to watch for cool animations with FindIt.
The app gets the little things right too. If I use the Navigation button to adjust my pre-existing accounts, I see a quick list of everything that I’ve got set up. When I’m finished, hitting the Done button returns me to the main screen instead of the Navigation menu, which I think is great.
In other words, FindIt’s design respects my time. It doesn’t make me go digging through mountains of buttons just to do anything, and it’s faster than any of the competition — including my much-beloved Readdle Documents (although Documents does support far more services).
Something to Consider
As I often wonder when I review an app like this, I consider the market value. It’s a beautiful app that deserves a high rating, but who is it for? I don’t use Google Docs and I’m trying to get away from Google’s services as much as I can. And even if I wasn’t, I would still wish the app included support for iCloud or locally saved documents.
I also wonder what happens if Apple ever integrates their own service like this into iOS. After all, Jobs famously told Dropbox that they were “a feature,” not an app. The same logic could easily apply to FindIt, which isn’t inherently a bad thing but still worth mentioning.
At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is an app that works exceptionally well at what it does. I wish it had a few more services you could connect it with, but what’s here does work really well. It’s beautiful, functional and free.
FindIt’s deference to the user with its design makes me a happy camper, and I think it’s going to fit in really well with iOS 7. If FindIt is an app that fits your workflow, look no further — this is everything you need.