Search across DropBox, OneDrive, Google Docs (product concept)

Abstract

As “cloud” services have become more popular, many people who work as freelancers or consultants are forced to learn to use each product in a given space. For instance, a freelance writer might use email, Google Docs, OneDrive (Office Online), and DropBox to share documents with her clients. This leads to some overhead, since she has to remember how to use each to find documents each time she switches products, as well as to learn the use of multiple products and compensate for them being down.

Allowing support for multiple accounts in a single product helps the freelancer or individual who has many Gmail accounts. This would help teams with high turnover, as the team members could expose their documents to a search engine, without necessarily handing over access to their entire account.

In larger organizations, one could use a shared search engine to find who worked with a client (without seeing the details) to find good contacts for new sales.

Design

To deal with these issues, a fourth product could be introduced, that allows one to search across several cloud storage platforms. This would allow faceted search that lets you filter to specific platforms or accounts, so the end user could still use the product if they knew where a document was.

This also should use the domain name of the client to group documents – for instance a document owned by or including “gary@garysieling.com” or any other accounts in this domain to be treated as a unit. This allows for finding a document for any particular client, without remembering who the contact is, which is especially useful for auditing the list of work done for a particular product. client.

A potentially important feature in search engine is alerting – search engines can easily be turned into alert engines, if the results are monitored and diff’ed over time. This is useful to enable one to know when clients share new documents (this limits communication overhead)

This application has growth potential, as it could become more like basecamp, and include more project-oriented features for freelance use. As an example, since many users of this application would be filling out timesheets, integration with a time tracking application or simple display of the current date within the application would be of use.

Quotes

“I’m organized, but I waste so much time searching for files…. my organization requires me to use so many different platforms”

“I can never remember what the date is”

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