The Greplin Review

In March 2011, I read a story online about the debut of Greplin, a new way of indexing the online nuggets of your life into a fast and easy to sift-through search interface.  I immediately signed up for the service on the first payment tier because I believe in paying to support what you love, and I really loved Greplin — for the first day or so — until I began to realize I had a lot of stuff to index and I was already running out of space on the service even thought I just got started.

I could have upgraded to the top tier, but I knew I would run out of space there, too — it was only a matter of time.  What to do?  Forsake your love and delete your account?  Or contact Greplin support and ask some questions?

I opted for the second choice, and I sent the following query to Greplin support after fiddling around with some databases and their privacy page:

1. Who can actually read my aggregated stuff on your service? It isn’t exactly clearly stated on your website. Can you and your staff and your authorized agents see and read my data? Or can you only see data without any text details? How secure is our stuff? I think you need to be more explicitly human, and less technical and legalistic, on your Privacy page addressing the sanctity, not just the security, of our data you now hold. You know more about us than any other service out there — including Google! — and that is a paramount task of responsibility.

2. You index our clouds, but where do you store what you index? Do you re-store it in the cloud? Do you store it in-house? Do you have a data center? Is our stuff redundantly backed up on your end?

3. When we delete a service — is it wholly deleted on your end, too? Or are backup copies stored somewhere on your end? When we delete — is it gone forever?

4. When I wanted to delete my account last night, I could not find an account area to delete the service. I also could not find my credit card information.

5. After four hours of indexing, Greplin wasn’t finished — I guess I have a lot of junk! SMILE! I was, however, disappointed in the indexing of my Google Apps Docs. Your service did not find even a third of my Docs. Has that been a problem in the past? Is there a remedy for that? 1,977 Docs were found in the first hour — and then nothing — while Google Apps Gmail was finding, and indexing, 10,000 emails an hour.

6. What happens to Plus users who run out of space? That seems like a scaling problem to me, because I will likely start at the 50% filled level on Plus… if I can afford that level year after year. Power Users, I’m not one, will only have TONS of more stuff to index moving forward than they have now, and “running out of room” is a major concern once you take the time to get everything in Greplin for indexing. When you add more services like Google Voice and Google Reader and Basecamp, we will be increasing our indexing with you by magnitudes.

7. I think you still have a marketing problem where the Plus service is three times as expensive as the Premium service, but you’re only doubling the “storage” — at least that’s what your comparative graphics suggest in the upgrade account area.

19-year-old Greplin SuperGenius co-founder Daniel Gross almost immediately replied to my list of concerns and answered them all with appropriate panache and honesty.

In the end, I decided not to stay with Greplin back in March 2011 because I couldn’t see a way out of the running out of room conundrum, and why start something when there’s already a hard end in sight?  Daniel refunded my purchase and I’ve been keeping an eye on Greplin ever since.

Today, I’m delighted to report, I am a new, paying, Greplin fanatic once again.  I am forever in love with the service.  Greplin is so good, in fact, in organizing my life, I am quickly learning how hard it is to live without the service — and that sort of attachment never really ever ends well because great, innovative, indispensable, products like Greplin have a habit of being bought and then devoured into disappearing.  Google, keep your grubby hands off my Greplin!

Greplin is what Google search is supposed to be: Quick, detailed, efficient, self-specific.  Greplin divines me better than I know myself, and while that concerns me on some level, the Greplin privacy policy has been updated and clarified.  I am satisfied.

I also appreciate this Greplin blog post explaining the changes to account storage limits:

Since launch, we’ve learned that Greplin users are power users. More than a few have maxed out the size limit on their Gmail accounts. Some feared that even the compressed and indexed version of their data wouldn’t fit within Greplin’s size limits. So here’s an easy fix: the Greplin space limit is now 10GB for all users. This is many times more space than even our most active Grepliners are currently using. It also leaves lots of room to grow.

Okay, so having 10gigs of storage is great news.  I’m currently indexing my Google Apps Mail, Docs, Contacts, Calendar as well as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Basecamp, Google Reader, and Tumblr.

After a week of being back with Greplin, I’m currently using 7.8% of my 10gigs of storage.

Every 20 minutes or so, all my databases are auto-refreshed and re-indexed by Greplin:

You can refine your Greplin searches to limit your inquiry to Mail or Links or Streams…

Here’s what a search for “Daniel Gross” turns up in my Greplin:

Since I’m using the Chrome browser on my Mac, I installed the Greplin extension to get even deeper access to my indexed databases in Google Apps Mail itself.  See that tiny Greplin logo in the Gmail search box?  Click it, and you’re set to Grep!

Here are some of my current services I hope to one day add to Greplin for indexing:

Google Voice
Google+
Readability
Google Music
Spotify

If you dare to join Greplin and sign up for an account, I guarantee you will wonder how you ever lived without the service.  You can drill-down into to the bits of your life and be absolutely delighted at the historic gifts Greplin will provide in return for your faith.

17 comments

  • Interesting service, David. I fear, though, that relying too much on a service to remember where I put certain information will, as your photo article taught us, make my brain not want to remember it since it knows that something else is remembering for it! :)

  • So… what were his responses to your questions? That’s the interesting part…

    • When I was planning my original Greplin review in March, I submitted those questions to Daniel and he answered them. Then I cancelled the review because I was canceling the service. I don’t think it’s fair to include his responses to my old March inquiries when so much has changed with the service. As I say in the review, I’m satisfied with how Greplin is set up and works today, and that’s all that matters in the now. I also don’t have explicit permission from Daniel to publish his responses since the cancellation.

  • I second John’s question – a big focus of your post were your questions, but where are the answers?

    Also how much utility do you find in things like Dropbox search and google docs search of non-native documents since the contents aren’t full text indexed? Only the file names.

    • Daniel’s answers back then don’t really matter today because the context is stale. I included my initial concerns to frame the then and the now — and today I am satisfied with the service and that’s why I rejoined as a for-pay customer. I haven’t bumped into any problems using Greplin. If Google Docs doesn’t provide indexing of non-native documents, how would you expect Greplin to be able to search those files?

  • UPDATE:

    I just discovered Greplin has failed to update the indexes for my Google Apps Docs and Google Apps Contacts for days. I have contacted Greplin support for a reason why and a fix for the future.

  • Pingback: The Greplin Effect | Memeingful

  • AHHH I so hope that Google+ will be available on it soon, my first thought when I signed up was: “If only this worked for Google+…”
    I mean, emails are easily searchable, facebook updates are usually not important and quite searchable if you remember someone you mentioned in a post (

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m having an issue where my Google Apps Docs and Google Apps Contacts are not auto-updating with Greplin. I’m stuck at 1,945 docs and 10,222 contacts for a week. Both services have additional content, but Greplin isn’t finding it. I’ve contacted customer support and will report back when I have a resolution.

    • -wow so i wasn’t done and accidentally hit enter-
      Not to mention I usually search my email for facebook notifications like events and whatnot, but I really want a place to store my Google+ stream, especially since I’ve made G+ friends exclusively on there and would like to be able to search through our relationships easily– something that facebook has made very doable but G+ isn’t really gearing towards.

  • I’ll stay to watch Google unify search over its products and Greplin-alikes go down….

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