Social search and grokking Greplin
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Social search & grokking Greplin


Many times, only half-jokingly, I have told people that I have the memory of a sieve.  That is to say, none at all.  I suspect that, in this age of the information barrage, I’m not alone.  How many times have you recalled that someone said something about something, online somewhere, at some time in the past?  Details get vague.  Locations and timeframes get fuzzy.  Was it an email?  A tweet?  Perhaps you saw it on Facebook a couple of months ago.  Now what?  You could go search each of these individually, except that searching social networks is a major headache.  And you have to search each one possible location one at a time.   At this point, unless the information is a matter of life and death, you’d probably decide to forget it and get on with life.

This week, I’ve been experimenting with an interesting new tool that attempts to solve this dilemma.  That tool is Greplin.  This freemium (more on that in a bit) service indexes a good chunk of your online “stuff” so that you can go back through it and search it later.  From Greplin’s site, here’s what they index for free:

  • Gmail (not gTalk Chats)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Calendar
  • Facebook (your profile, events, notes, messages, friends, news feed and wall posts)
    • Please note that for news feed and wall posts, Facebook only allows us to collect data from a few days before you began your index on Greplin. However, we will collect all your data from that point forward. This means that you may not find Facebook news feed or wall post items that were created up to 4 days prior to your initial signup for Greplin.
  • Twitter (your tweets, timeline and direct messages)
  • Dropbox (titles and filenames only)
  • LinkedIn (your status updates, contacts)

For more storage (you get 200MB free) and more available index services, you’ll need to pay a small monthly fee.  If you are a regular user of Evernote or Google Apps, however, the paid plans might be worth a look see.

This service could be helpful for a library, wanting to index its Facebook/Twitter posts.  Its appeal is probably the highest for an individual, considering the ability to also index Gmail and LinkedIn.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • You can remove any/all of your data from Greplin at any time.  Greplin also takes data privacy seriously.
  • You can add more than one Gmail account.
  • You can’t use wildcard or boolean searches, but Greplin does have some advanced search capability for narrowing down results.
  • Greplin can be searched directly from the Chrome browser.
  • Indexes are updated approximately every 20 minutes, although Greplin does stipulate that in “high load situations,” updates can take up to a day.

Overall, Greplin may not be solving a problem you have.  However, for those of us with memory issues, Greplin may find a neat little niche that helps us go a little less crazy.

Have you tried Greplin?  What did you think?  Tell us in the comments, please?

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