If your computer document filing system is more in the cloud than on your actual computer, you’re going to be interested in Doo, currently a Mac app that syncs documents on your computer to the cloud, where they can be shared with other supported computers and mobile apps.
The developers say Doo, which is in beta, will also be available soon for Windows 8, and later for Windows Phone, iPad/iPhone and Android.
How It Works
If you’re thinking Doo is similar to Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud, you’re right. It allows you to sync and store any and all documents to your cloud account and retrieve them on other devices. However, Doo can, if you allow it, go a few steps further by automatically copying your documents on your computer to the Doo data library and then tagging and managing those copies.
At its current stage of development, Doo does not touch or move your documents, it just copies them to the Doo database (similar to how your iTunes and iPhoto files are imported to a database) which resides in your Documents folder by default, and then Doo actually attempts to create a smart index (similar to OS X Smart Finder folders) by adding tags and labels to copies of your documents. If your documents currently contain tags, they get preserved.
After downloading and installing Doo, and registering your account, Doo will ask you which files (e.g., PDFs, spreadsheets, images, text documents, presentations) you want it to import. However, the catch is that the free account with Doo only allows for 2,000 files, and up to a gigabyte of storage. So if you have say lots of image files and PDFs on your Mac, you will probably not want to have them copied.
Doo can also import documents from your Dropbox, Google Docs, and designated Mail account as well. But again, this is a space issue, so you might not want to check these items unless you plan to upgrade to the premium account.
Most of my documents are now in my Dropbox account, but the 600+ files still on my computer took only a few minutes for Doo to copy into its database. Doo continually copies and adds all your new files, as long as of course the app is open.
Doo is also a file management client that seeks to present your files sort of the way iTunes organizes and presents your MP3s. Just like you don’t go hunting in the iTunes database to find music files, the developers of Doo think you shouldn’t have to hunt around for your documents in Finder.
But here’s where it gets tricky. The Doo file management client feels to me a little too big and cumbersome. It works almost like the Mac Finder, but Doo attempts to automatically manage your files according to labels, companies, people, types, places, and file types.
It bases its tagging system on the contents of your files. In many cases it can be accurate, while in some cases it might be confusing. If you simply want to display documents by file type, say in the last month, then you will probably find what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a specific file with no idea about the date or type, you will probably have to do a search, unless Doo does a good job of labeling your documents.
I, however, rarely spend a lot time looking for old documents. Most of my days are spent pulling up documents that are part of current projects I’m working on. If you largely work with files via projects, you can create project folders in Doo’s main window and drag files to their designated project folder.
It would be even more useful if you could drag a label and individual tagging items or categories to the sidebar of the main window so that documents can be quickly retrieved without having to do a search each time.
You can also manually drag files to the Doo icon in your menu bar and provide the custom label you want for them.
In many ways Doo wants users to not be bothered with a detailed filing system of folders and subfolders on their computer. No matter where your documents are saved, Doo will copy and organize them for you. It’s sort of like what Apple promised with its Smart Folder and Spotlight system in the early versions of OS X.
Will Doo catch up and be as useful and popular as Dropbox? Only time will tell. For now, the app is in beta, and the UI could use some more work. For one, the Main window shouldn’t take up so much space; and two, there should possibly be a way to set up filing rules in Doo, sort of like Smart Folders, where you can tell it how to specifically sort certain files.
These critiques aside, the idea of Doo is appealing, because basically most computer users probably do spend too much (or not enough) time manually managing files, and there ought to be easier ways to do so.
So what do you think of Doo? What do you find as its strengths and weaknesses at this point?