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Search Everywhere with Yadle

Most of us work in a file-based workflow. That is, the end product of our work is generally a file: an image we touched up in Photoshop, that latest python script, a Word doc expressing our latest great ideas, a spreadsheet containing financial analysis for clients, or a 3D model of a new building or vehicle.

Our file-based workflows produce an ever-growing number of files stored in a potentially large number of locations. Technology companies provides us all sort of places to store these files, each place slightly different in function than the others.

Files are scattered across computers and storage in our homes and workplaces. We keep them in cloud storage. We email them to each other. And we ship them around on flash drives. Finding a file by searching each storage location where files are, one at a time is, painfully inefficient. Even the search tools offered natively as part of our PCs operating system such as macOS Finder and Windows File Explorer fail to provide reliable results in a timely manner once we move beyond one storage location.

There are 3 factors that effect the amount of time and effort spent finding a file:

  1. Total number of FILES

  2. Number of PEOPLE you work with


The number of files in your personal and professional life continuously increases. It is very unlikely that will stop until you get rid of all of your digital devices. The total number of files you must search becomes a barrier as the numbers get in the millions. This sounds like a lot of files, but your brand new laptop has a few hundred thousand files on it before you even use it. Yadle works with one company that has over 33 billion files! It is hard to imagine how you can find what you are looking for in such a large set of files.

Like you, your co-workers produce a lot of files too - and versions of the same files. Think about finding a file on your computer. It can be hard. Now imagine how you can find a file across 100 co-workers computers, so instead of spending a few minutes on one system you are now spending 100's of minutes on many systems. Add a few cloud services and company file servers or NAS, and you can quickly get to 1,000's of possible places for a file to be stored.

Organizations try to organize files into logical folder structures, and ask everyone to maintain the structure to help us stay organization. We have seen companies successfully do this for specific sets of files, but have never seen a company do this across all files. Even companies who claim every thing is in order generally don't - they always seem to have a few issues that dirty up the file organization structure. And over time, the dirtiness grows and soon it is time to cleanup and restructure again. And again. And again. Sound familiar?

The issue of finding - or not finding - files is rooted in the belief that we as humans can organize the files and REMEMBER where they are. Or quickly navigate the file structure because it has a well-defined taxonomy.

More people also means more places a file could be - on a cloud account or local workstation. And today, almost all organizations will have storage infrastructure consisting of a shared network storage (ie NAS) and at least one cloud storage provider (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc). Remote employees are likely to have files on their local filesystems and removable hard drives as well. This equates to more places a file can be.

Trying to remember where everything lives is futile. With many different locations for files to to be stored, keeping track of where they are quickly becomes unwieldy. And remember that lots of people are probably sharing these files, increasing the chances (actually the certainty) that some files will be in the "wrong" location. Over time, as more files are added to more storage locations by more people, you end up with what you probably have now - a bit of a mess.

The above scenario is also based on humans remembering file or folder names as clues to find the files. But wouldn't it be better to be able to search for the PDF file that has a blue cover and the words "Annual Report" inside?

Yadle does that. And much, much more.

Let's explore how you probably look for files today and compare that to how you could find files using Yadle.

Not here, maybe there…

First, let's talk about how we think of the files you want to use without Yadle. It is artificial to remember folder and file names. We all do that, but it really isn't how our brain wants to recall files. We think of what we are looking for in the context of the use of the file, or what the file represents. Something like:

  • The project document for "Phoenix" with the green hat on the cover.

  • The annual report that has a blue cover authored by Bob.

  • The CAD drawing that has those aluminum railings.

  • Pictures of the beach. With rocks. In California.

Without Yadle, the above searches are not possible. You cannot find files by visual clues. You cannot search by text and by color and by author.

So we are stuck with filenames, and perhaps some basic content terms. In order to find the above examples, we must mentally translate those contextual mental clues into what we remember about the folders where files with different characteristics are stored. And recall what system or cloud device those files are stored on. It is hard. Very hard.

As the number of files and folders and storage locations increases, it becomes impossible for any one person to remember with any precision where files are. People remember some top-level folders as starting points, and then kind of explore downward in hopes of finding what they want.

Let’s walk through the steps that you might take to find a file by file or folder name.

1. Depending on what operating system is being used, the first thing to try will be to search using Apple’s Finder or Windows Explorer. Time spent: 1 minute per system I need to search.

2. Next, you might plug in a removable USB drive and manually browse or also search using Finder or Explorer. Time spent: 3 minutes per each USB drive.

3. If I do not find what I need on on both the local filesystem or the removable drive, the next place to look is on the company's networked storage. Unless you are pretty accurate about what folder you begin in, this can take a very long time. After 10 minutes has passed, you may still have no results. Time spent: 10 minutes

4. “Ok so it must be in the cloud” is what you’re thinking at this point. Login to your Google Drive account and use the built in search. Time spent: 2 minutes

5. You then remember that you and some other colleagues also have a shared OneDrive account. You login there, search, and low and behold the file has been located. Time spent: 2 minutes

Total Time Spent: ~18 minutes You just wasted valuable time to find a single file. Time that you could have used to be doing what you love as an artist, designer, engineer, or architect. And statistics show that we all do this a lot, wasting up to 1 hour a day looking for the files we need to do our work.

You can see that although you may have found the file, it was time-consuming and there was no promise of success. But you depended a lot on your knowledge of folder names and locations. And you also needed the technical skills to search across multiple platforms, each with different search mechanisms.

You had to essentially repeat the same search 5 times!

Yadle Search

Let's see how the same can be achieved with just a single search using Yadle. For this example we'll be looking for the "Phoenix" document with the green hat on the cover.

1. I would open my web browser or Yadle app and search for:

2. Yadle will search all systems in the Yadle ecosystem, including workstations, file servers, NAS, and cloud services. Yadle can also search USB drives that are not currently connected to any system.

3. The single search will take just a few seconds, even for 10's of millions of files.

4. From the results - which include a visualization of the file - you can "Open" the file or drag and drop it into a project folder or application.

Comparing Yadle to macOS Finder and Windows Explorer

Using the built-in search of Apple's Finder or Windows File Explorer are both decent options for finding files stored on an individual's local hard drives. However, not many of us work in this sort of isolated environment. When it comes to searching remote network volumes, such as NAS or SAN devices, these two solutions leave much to be desired.

Yadle's search is simply faster, has greater reach in terms of what can be searched, and just works no matter what the storage medium is.

The Spotlight feature which is part of Finder was not generally designed to search network volumes. MacOS users connecting to network volumes over SMB or NFS protocols, will resort to conducting enumerated searches - walking each directory looking for filename matches. Depending on the breadth of the volume, this can take a very long time, often leading to timeouts and no results.

Windows Explorer search has a similar disadvantage. Searching a network volumes with many layers of directories and huge numbers of files, will often lead to unresponsive searches.

Using the native search of your system, you may be waiting around for several minutes for results, only to not find the file you need - even thought the file in actuality is on the network volume! Confusing. Frustrating. Unpredictable results. Inefficient.

Yadle is a better way to find what you need to do your work:

  • Search across all storage locations at once.

  • Yadle searches are faster compared to Finder and Windows Explorer.

  • Yadle searches all file metadata, not just the filenames.

  • Yadle AI tags images, video, and 3D models based on their contents.

  • Yadle searches files on removable devices without having to connect them each time.

  • Yadle thumbnails everything. Images, documents, video, CAD, 3D. The final human step in the file discovery process is visual confirmation by checking the thumbnail. Search for your file, see your file, use your file.

  • Get results in less than 2 seconds. (benchmark from 55 TB of data from 4.5 million files)

  • Search for files that have been deleted. Deleted files are visually marked accordingly.

  • Search for files that have been moved offline or archived.

The complexities of local and cloud storage, changing workplace dynamics, and remote workers has changed how file-based workflows "flow". Existing tools for managing, finding and using files just do not work in this new environment. Institutional knowledge is lost - you cannot ask the co-worker who sits next to you because you are working at home. And the increased use of local and cloud storage is making it hard to even be aware of where files might be stored.

Yadle is simply the fastest, easiest way to find and use files in any organization.

Searching any other way is a waste of time.

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