CloudMagic, the cross-platform cloud search utility for web and mobile, is now introducing a way to combine public data search with personal search. Or, more simply put, it’s rolling out a feature that works like Google’s “Search Plus Your World,” without the Google+. In its place, instead, is your data on the other online services which CloudMagic indexes, including Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Dropbox, iCloud, Box, Microsoft Exchange, as well as Google properties like Gmail, Google Apps, Google Calendar, Google Contacts and more.
The new CloudMagic search extension works as a browser add-on in Chrome, Firefox or Safari, and functions in a similar way to Google’s “Search Plus Your World.” Once installed, a box appears next to Google search results, where other relevant data matching your Google query will appear. For example, if you search for a local business, you might find that a friend has tweeted about it; or you search for a company, and find you know someone there; or you look for a recipe, and find that you had already archived it in Evernote.
The video below shows what the above examples would look like when CloudMagic is installed:
In a nutshell, CloudMagic is like a more expansive version of Google’s Search Plus Your World.
For those unfamiliar, Google announced an update to its core search engine nearly a year ago (Search Plus Your World), which was the beginning of Google’s attempts to integrate social and personal data into search. Following the updates, search results began to include signals from your Google+ Circles. The integration meant that you would now see the things you or friends shared on Google+ being given more weight in Google’s results. The immediate reaction, of course, was that the change was less about “your world” than it was about Google+.
However, in the months since, Google has been expanding and experimenting with other ways to integrate social and personal data into Google’s main search results pages. It has been running field trials to integrate Gmail and Google Drive data into search, and just yesterday, in fact, it rolled out another experiment which introduced new search parameters that allow you to pull up online purchases, reservations, and events in Google search, again, based on your Gmail data.
All that being said, everything that Google is doing on this front is about integrating its own properties into search. It won’t – and can’t – add in data from external sources because that’s data it doesn’t own and manage. That’s where CloudMagic comes in.
Yes, CloudMagic’s level of access means you’re authorizing a third-party to access your personal data. Some people will not be comfortable with that. But CloudMagic uses OAuth wherever possible, takes security precautions, and insists that it respects user privacy. Users already store personal data on servers at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and elsewhere, but for some, when that data becomes centralized, it’s perceived as a threat.
As a longtime Cloud Magic user myself, though, I take the position that the benefits of this application (which I access multiple times per day) outweigh the risks. Your mileage may vary.
For what it’s worth, CloudMagic co-founder Rohit Nadhani says he believes that the merge of public and personal data can only be successful if attempted by a neutral their-party, such as itself.
It’s not the only startup to think this way. The company operates in the same space at Cue (formerly Greplin), but CloudMagic is focused on being a search utility rather than a more inclusive alternative to Google Now, like Cue.