Social Network Information Overload? Greplin Lets You Search Your Digital Life

Greplin does for your social network what Google does for the web. It's search made personal, and it could be the next big thing.

You have a Facebook wall, Twitter feed, Gmail account, Dropbox, and LinkedIn profile. What you don’t have is the time to manage all these disparate streams of media while still getting your job done. That’s where Greplin comes in. The Silicon Valley startup is ‘the search bar for your life’. Instead of pouring through billions of web pages, it pours through the tens of thousands of documents that comprise your personal web space. Once Greplin indexes your digital stuff, you can find anything you’ve been sent no matter which social network channel it came through. Watch the new kind of search tool in action in the demo video below. One of last year’s Y Combinator picks, Greplin has now gathered more than $4.72 million in funding and ringing endorsements from valley tracking blogs like TechCrunch. Could Greplin become the next billion dollar search company by focusing on personal feeds rather than public ones?

Like other personal search and management systems, you can customize which of your feeds Greplin has access to. Want it to keep track of your Gmail but not your Facebook? Totally fine. Once you open your digital doors, Greplin pours over your incoming data, indexing your entire collection. After the initial pass, Greplin will continue to update its indexes of your accounts about every 20 minutes. That means that anytime you use Greplin to search you can be pretty much guaranteed you’ll be able to find the latest tidbit of news you need, no matter which outlet it’s coming from. Index sizes are currently capped at 10 GB per user, but Greplin says that limit is magnitudes larger than even their heaviest users currently require, so there’s plenty of room to grow as you continue to add new email accounts and expand your network of friends.

The free version of Greplin handles most of the common account types like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. If you need help with slightly more exotic feeds, like Yammer, Basecamp, or Evernote, then you can upgrade to the Premium package for $5 a month or $50 a year. Not bad for a service that helps you manage your mounds of unruly digital data, but I’m hoping that their business model edges towards entirely free in the years ahead.

While all versions of their product are still in closed beta, the company has already indexed 1.5 billion items for their clientele with 30 million more added everyday. To put that in perspective it’s roughly one quarter of the content generated on Twitter, but only about a 3% of what Facebook users create. Clearly Greplin still has a long way to go before it can handle the flood of personal messages the internet at large wades through everyday, but keep in mind that they’ve been handling their current load with only six engineers! That’s pretty damn impressive. Now that they have more than four million in funds, we’re sure to see the company expand its personnel and putting up much bigger numbers in the near future.

Greplin has many things going for it, not the least of which is positive buzz. It’s a Y Combinator graduate, which tends to lend some considerable weight among investors, and TechCrunch seems to be in love with the company (which doesn’t hurt either). There’s also a good story behind its team as Daniel Gross, one of the founders, was only eighteen when he started the company, and was the youngest entrepreneur to ever receive a Y Combinator nod.

Of course the most important part of Greplin is the concept of the product itself. We’ve seen social aggregation before, and big names like Google and Apple have positioned themselves to serve as a nexus for all your social media stuff. Yet Greplin’s straight forward indexing approach and their focus on search and software rather than creating a single stream or routing everything through a piece of hardware helps them stand apart. They seem to have a fairly decent chance of long term success and they’re providing a new web utility right when we’re starting to need it most. I’ve been neglecting my LinkedIn account for years, and I’m starting to wean myself off of Facebook as well. Not because I dislike my experiences with those products, but just because I don’t have time to maintain them properly. By helping us sort through all our data, and by letting us index our social media the same way we index our brains, Greplin could help overloaded internet jockeys like myself keep dabbling in all the various forms of online content.

One day soon, products like Greplin won’t just be for the hardcore users out there, they’ll be a necessity to us all. The days of peak social networking traffic are still ahead of us, and the tides of media are still rising. If Greplin can’t help us manage the personal side of search, we need another solution to arrive soon. Else we’re all likely to drown in a flood of tweets, updates, and inboxes.

[image and video credits: Greplin]
[source: Greplin, Greplin Blog]

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