25. February 2013–
German software company Doo's biggest challenge will be convincing people to switch their old document folder habits to something with the potential to be better.
After two years of research and development, Doo – a team of about 50 in Bonn, led by 6Wunderkinder investor Frank Thelen – has finally released its free document management solution for Mac OSX. It aims to clear that awful pile of digital paperwork spilled through your desktop and document folders, in your email folder, in your Dropbox... Well, not clear it, but make it so easy to search that it might as well be neatly sorted.
"We're really trying to rethink documents," Thelen (above) told us before the launch. "People are used to working with folders, for 20 years, and now we come along and say, everything should be tag-based...
"We truly believe this is the way it will be done but we might be a little bit early for this. So that's the biggest challenge. Are people ready to change their behaviour?"
People are clearly interested in trying. According to Applyzer, even a few days after Doo's launch on Friday, it's still ranked as the top free app in over 50 countries' Mac App Stores, including the US and Germany.
Doo – the future of document storage?
Doo's search tool runs on automatic tagging based on file names and types, any existing folder names, plus optical character recognition (OCR) for in-document text.
As well as indexing local folders (and synching to changes in them), Doo offers the option to connect and index Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive (and therefore Google Docs) and email accounts. Support for Evernote and Box will follow soon.
Doo also provides tools for users to scan and upload actual paper documents, and a handy "Improve Library" function to help detect and delete duplicate files.
The next step for the company will be Android and iPhone versions. This is where the business model comes in – Doo will also offer a cloud service to sync documents between devices but only the first 2000 documents uploaded to the cloud will be free. Users who want to access more will need to pay ($4.99 to $24.99 per month).
Does Doo work?
After a quick try, Doo's search tool seemed to work reasonably well for my local folders – not as many results as my MacBook's native search tool for certain keywords but from more sources. I'm still figuring out how to get a full range of results from Google Drive and my email inbox but, for now, am willing to give the app the benefit of the doubt.
Assuming Doo eventually delivers what it promises for most of its users, it could be a second productivity app hit to emerge from Germany in the last few years. Thelen – who has helped start a number of companies besides Doo and 6Wunderkinder – is outspoken about the need for more successful innovative tech startups in Germany:
"What Rocket [Internet]'s doing – Oli Samwer is just amazing, he's an amazing executor. But it's also important that we show the world that we're not only copying businesses, that we are also ready to innovate."