Cloud services are becoming increasingly popular, which leads to files getting lost across services. Enter Xendo, which launches today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Xendo is a tool that lets users search across cloud services to find a particular file, but it offers a range of services beyond purely finding your stuff.
Xendo has been available for a short time on Google Chrome Web Store and through several cloud vendors including Yammer, Box and Salesforce.com among others.
Co-founder Julian Gay says the company created the tool because business users were using more and more applications in the cloud, many on their own without the knowledge of their company’s IT department. The more apps you use, he says, the more difficult it is to find things. It’s a problem that begged for a search solution.
“We developed a cloud-based solution, deployed by users, which provides a single search box and lets you search across the services from broad search to narrow search without disturbing workflow or leaving where you work,” Gay explained.
In fact he says, “We spend almost 10 percent of our week navigating between apps to find content.” Xendo lets you enter natural language processing like “customer updates in email since last week.”
Gay said the product is divided into four main capabilities: search, find, relate and alert.
With search Gay says, “You know something exists, but you forget where it is. You have an email, but you can’t remember what account. Or you know you have presentation but you’re not sure if it’s in Box or Dropbox.”
The find capability helps when researching a subject. It’s about discovery and serendipity. In this case, a user might do a search in Google and get results across the web, but Xendo will offer a set of results next to the Google search results with content from cloud services and those of your colleagues (when you have permission to see them) that match the search query.
Relate helps people connect content between apps. Without leaving the app where they’re working they can search and preview content from across their apps and also see content their colleagues created (again, if the user has permission to view the content).
Finally, alerts can be set where Xendo proactively monitors content sources for changes and sends an alert when new content gets added, according to whatever time is scheduled. For instance, an alert can be set to find all new customers in SFDC since the last query and email it on daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The product also includes filters to narrow or expand search results and preview capabilities to see what’s inside documents without having to explicitly open them.
Today Xendo can be accessed through its website or installed with a Google Chrome plug-in and used in Chrome.
Xendo works with a range of cloud services including Gmail, Box, Salesforce, Yammer, and Google Drive and many others. Once a user grants permission to Xendo, the service indexes the connected services. It only takes a few minutes to get up and running, but it could take some time to index everything.
Gay says the plan is to use the freemium model to get into the enterprise via end users, just as Box, Yammer and others have before it. In this way, end users can get access to search, find and relate for free, but if they want to access alerts, advanced filters and preview, the user’s company would have to pay $9 per-user, per-month for access to those capabilities.
Gay said the company launched in 2012 and initially focused on a mobile web product, but shifted at beginning of the year to the Chrome extension they are offering today. Although their long-range plan calls for supporting other browsers, he says they chose Chrome simply because it’s the most popular browser right now.
Xendo has a grander goal for their technology beyond as a pure search tool. “Our bigger vision is we want to be intelligent middleware that fits between where content is in the cloud and the devices where you get your work done – browsers, mobile, smartwatches, whatever,” he explained.
And while that longer range goal is on the horizon, Xendo offers a simple tool today to solve a real user problem around finding content when you use multiple cloud services. And that’s an excellent place to start.
Do you build the search index for each different deployment in your own cloud, or do you do you do deployments within each company. For different indexes do you have different views for each user to reflect user permissions.
A: We host them together in a multi tenant environment, but we can host them separately, but that’s at the business level where we can host them in private clouds and keep them separate. We connect on behalf of the user so we basically create a personal private index for that user in that same multi tenant infrastructure.
Do you expect IT to buy it or people bring it one by one.
We started with the grass roots adoption, make it simple to self serve and get organic growth, then we actually end up talking to IT to make sure everything is secure.
I’m allowed to use it on my stuff. Won’t the IT freak out that all that’s data is somewhere else.
Possibly, but that’s happening anyway with [other cloud] apps where end user is driving the selection of applications.
You use Chrome extension. What additional access points for Xendo are you building? If I’m in company conversation tool like Slack or HipChat, what are plans to be part of that communication channel.
We don’t think there should be multiple places. We have invested in an architecture so you can build integration really quickly, like one or two days and we do give you coverage over all kinds of data and have enough flexibility to go from broad search to something specific. Everything we’ve built is based on REST-built API and we want to open that up and developers build for all emerging devices.
Over time what prevents Chrome team from building these types of integrations into the browser
We chose Chrome because it’s the most common browser and we could embed it into the workflow. We think it’s going to be very hard for bigger players to do something similar. For us, it’s taking advantage of public APIs, but for them it’s a huge business development project. We have done the integrations and already have built relationships. We think it’s a play on a Switzerland can win at.
As for Switzerland, isn’t this a risk you are dependent on public APIs?
Not really. In consumer APIs, it may be a risk, but these enterprise APIs, they realize they play in an ecosystem. They realize you have sales leads in one system, your email in another and files in another. There’s not going to be one uber service and so they know they need to play with transversal services like ours.
What is your early user feedback and what are the feature requests or pain points?
People are amazed how easy it is to set up. They are amazed how you can jump between different apps. One of our differentiators is we have 5-10 times coverage in terms of services compared to our competitors. They’ll see you have 9 of them, but I also use Gira and they’ll ask us to use those and we can quickly provision that.