App Review: Found - Spotlight on steroids

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Found Icon 250I’ve been waiting to write about Found since the last WWDC. I got a preview then, and a few months later got a beta copy. It’s pretty amazing.

Found is basically a replacement for Spotlight. It activates with a Control key double tap, and provides search results instantly. Right now it indexes and searches attributes and filenames, but not content (I’m told that’s in the works). Aside from being about one gazillion times faster than Spotlight, the coolest feature is Cloud search.

In addition to local files, Found indexes Google Drive (Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.), GMail and Dropbox. All of your cloud data on those services is available as quickly as your local files, and you can Quick Look and drag and drop the results directly from the Found panel. Make a local copy of a Google Doc, or email a Spreadsheet to a co-worker, all without ever opening a web browser. Once your cloud data is indexed, you can even search offline.

Found ScreenshotFound’s search is so fast that I’ve been using Spotlight a lot less. Found doesn’t handle Spotlight search syntax (kind:pdf, date:today, etc.), so Spotlight still has a place for me. The lack of query syntax also means it doesn’t search tags, which I thought at first was going to be a deal killer. I like my tags. I’ve come to trust that Found will quickly show me the files I’m looking for, though; as long as I remember some part of the filename. I’m not ready to give up OpenMeta tagging yet, but if Found adds content search it might alleviate my need for tags entirely.

Found is relatively easy on your system, doing its background processing quietly and without too much CPU load. The indexing process causes a lot of disk access, which during the initial index can cause noticeable slowness. Once it’s done, on a decent machine you will probably never notice a difference.

Found is a game-changer for me. I’ve relied on Spotlight for years, but this is a terrifically well thought out replacement for the often slow and tedious OS X search functionality. Check out the homepage, and pick it up from the Mac App Store. The base application is free and fully functional. As additional services and functionality are added they will likely need to be purchased as add-ons.

Give it a try, it comes with the ability to completely uninstall itself and remove its data cleanly. Also, it stores your service credentials in an encrypted keychain and uses no intermediary server to connect to cloud services. Your data is yours.