Extremely accurate, variation tolerant
Searches NAMES and CONTENT of items
Lightning fast multi-threaded in-memory processing
Laser focus on documents and items that are most relevant
Far exceeds the abilities of other desktop search engines
AKIN is able to find items by either their names or the content within those items, even when the names or content are mispelled or contain variations.
Searches files, folders, OneNote, Evernote, MS Office docs, pdf's, web
favorites and bookmarks (IE, Chrome, Firefox), Outlook email, contacts, notes,
calendar items, tasks and ToDo items, all without you needing to know exactly
how something was spelled or written.
Other search engines for the desktop are limited to exact words or phrases, which is not very helpful when you don't remember
or know exactly how something was named or written.
Lightweight yet Powerful
AKIN weighs in at just over 8MB in size. It installs quickly, uninstalls quickly, and
there is no bloatware or adware of any kind… and yet its packed with computational power, optimized for multi-core cpu environments to enhance its intelligence and easily handle high volumes. It’s a compact powerful tool designed to make you more effective, productive, and give you competitive advantage; consisting of powerful fuzzy name and content pattern recognition, helpful auto-suggest, proactive auto-query, noise reduction, as well as dynamic work surfaces that allow you to quickly search, drag & drop, pin, re-order, and composite sets of topics and items on these surfaces.
AKIN is based on a powerful set of textual pattern recognition algorithms and indexing techniques that are carefully tuned to work hard to identify the most similar and relevant information
in your system, even with a large amount of textual variation, distortion, or noise within the text. Also, with AKIN every piece of information potentially leads to another piece of similar
information via textual similarity and associations. Since AKIN is very “free association”, you will often see more results than you expected for any particular search.
However, AKIN has been tuned to work hard to ensure the information you see at or near the top of each results
set is the most similar and/or relevant information. As you browse downward through the results, you will frequently encounter related items of information you may have forgotten you had.
Let’s take an example that showcases the power of AKIN. Let’s say you met a new contact at a conference in Las Vegas who had a new interesting product. The contact is now in Outlook and you want to find it again, but you don’t remember the name exactly. You remember it sounded like it was from India and remember a bit of it, but not enough that you could find it with standard Outlook search tools quickly. AKIN can easily find this contact. You type in what you remember:
Visually the names look fairly different, but AKIN is able to “see” even the smallest similarities and easily find the closest relevant item. More impressive, AKIN goes further to find all other information related to Shravan Miriyala, including documents where Shravan Miriyala’s name is misspelled. There was no need for you to have to re-type your search to find other things related to Shravan Miriyala.
Even web search engines struggle to perform this level of information discovery and association.
Another significant way that AKIN is different and represents innovation, is that it allows you to dynamically work with the information you find, quickly grouping and associating any topics or items together to better support your task workflows. Further down, you can read about how Context Views and Sticky Work Surfaces help you accomplish this.
When performing information discovery, users have the need to quickly distinguish and filter the relevant types of information that are found. Many search engines lump all their results into one list making this process more difficult. However AKIN was designed to make it easier for you to distinguish certain types of search results. Search results are divided into
four basic types. Within these four types of results you will see either
Topics, Items, or both Topics and Items.
The Four Result Types
Name & Subject Results
This section represents topics and items that have names similar to the search
words/phrase. In the case of emails, these are emails with subjects that are
like the search phrase.
This result set represents items that were found to have content within them
that is similar to the search phrase. The results are sorted by similarity and
if proximity detection is turned on, the items having both the greatest
similarity and word/phrase proximity (words close to one another) in the
document are pushed to the top. Although fuzzy results will show up here, AKIN
will also pass your query to the Windows Operating system, and if it finds any
additional exact matches in the item contents, those results will also show up
here as well, but the two types of result items will have slightly different
colors. Items where fuzzy word matches have been detected will have a color of
dark blue while exact matches of content via Windows will have a lighter color
blue, and will not have similarity and proximity scoring information associated
Email To/From Results
The results here are like Keyword Tag results below, except they are filtered and
sorted specific to emails. When AKIN indexes emails, it extracts the sender and
receiver information and adds these as keyword tags for the item. Thus, when
searching in this section, AKIN is searching through keywords for emails only,
and effectively is looking for emails To or From anyone you type in the search
box. Of course, you can add your own additional keywords to emails, in which
case you can also search for those keywords in this section, as the Keyword Tag
Results section below ignores emails.
Keyword Tag Results
In AKIN you can easily add keyword tags to ANY Topic or Item just by right clicking on the topic or item and entering the desired keywords. These keywords are maintained by AKIN in its own data files. When AKIN searches keywords it does so using its pattern recognition technology. What this means is that you generally don’t have to remember the exact keyword phrase or how it was spelled to find the item you classified with a set of keywords. This is very powerful. Further, AKIN automatically extracts keywords from various items like
MS Office documents, photos, and music, and adds these to the index for you. If you later add more keyword tags to those files, it will continue to extract them and merge them with any keyword associations you have added through AKIN.
Within each result type section, the left side pane can represent “Topics” that were found,
but also provides a surface to drop other topics or items onto in order to view contextual
details about them. Since the surface is dynamic, you can also use it to composite various types of information.
Topics are basically things like file folders and/or categories that have been indexed, where items have been placed or categorized. Topics can be navigated through as hierarchy trees.
This pane automatically performs noise reduction to limit how much of the
hierarchy trees are visible, hiding parts that are unrelated.
The right side pane represent “Items” that were found, things like emails, office documents, notes, contacts, etc.
In addition to providing search results of different types, AKIN provides an easy click-based filtering mechanism:
Filters can also be created directly in the text of your search. For example, if I want to find all emails about budgets sent to or received from James Strauss, I can type “budget /james”. The forward slash indicates
that the text that comes after is a keyword relevance adjustment filter. If I wanted to find only the one’s SENT to James I would type “budget /s james”. The “/s” indicates “sent to”, and “/r” means “received from”.
If I want to find all word documents with names like “finance meeting”, I can type “finance meeting *word”, or “finance meeting *.docx”. If I want to find everything about finance that is NOT an email I can type “finance !email”
(the exclamation mark means “Not”). So you have the ability to create both inclusive and exclusive filtering. The latter can be very powerful when you want to exclude specific item results that might be obscuring your view.
Where’s the Context?
On our computer, if we search for the topic “rsvp” in Windows, we see something like this showing us all the folders called rsvp we have:
This is only a little bit helpful. How do we know which one contains the relevant information we are looking for? The only way to find out is to open each and every one until we find it… which means digging, digging, and more digging.
(By the way, we know for a fact that there are NO VIDEOS called rsvp on this system… strange)
AKIN has a better way.
With AKIN, when you search for a topic and it finds a number of instances of that topic under multiple categories and hierarchies, it doesn’t just dump all those instances out in a list for you to dig through. Rather, it presents you with
context to help guide you to the item you are searching for. This makes searching through folder directories much faster.
Using AKIN, we searched for the topic “Rsvp” below and AKIN has found it under a number of categorized topic hierarchies. Instead of a list, it shows you a single result for the topic “Rsvp” that was found.
Notice this icon:
It means that the topic found was found under one or more different hierarchical contexts rather than being a root topic. Underneath this result, AKIN then presents you with the root contexts of all those instances found so that you can choose which
context is most relevant to you.
In this case, there are three root contexts where the topic Rsvp resides, Christmas, Halloween, and Nikki Birthday Party. Underneath each of these there are potentially many more contexts or sub-topics where Rsvp is found and AKIN will guide you to them.
However, at this point, the user needs to choose which root context is most relevant to them regarding their current search.
In this case, the user selects Christmas, and when they click on it, AKIN automatically expands the tree to the next decision point. This reduces click fatigue. Additionally, AKIN ignores or hides sub-topics that are not directly related to the context of
your search. If a particular branch of the tree does not contain a sub-topic like Rsvp, AKIN will hide that branch. This is called noise reduction.
Notice how clean it looks because all those other unrelated branches of the tree are hidden. A green arrow indicates where the topic Rsvp was found underneath any particular hierarchical context.
Although non-related branches of the tree are hidden, at any time you can click on any branch of the tree and view the hidden items if you wish.
Tree topics and sub-topics that do not have hidden children look like normal blue folders.
Topics that might have hidden sub-topics due to noise reduction are gray folders tipped on their side.
Lets take another example. Let’s say we searched for the topic “finance” and AKIN found the topic “Personal Finance” under “Backup_AngiesDellLaptop_Mosquito”. While we are looking here we notice the sub-topic “Favorites” and notice it has 2 hidden sub-topics.
These are unrelated to finance so they were hidden, but we still would like to look at them.
To view them we just right click on them and select “Show Hidden Sub-Topics” or “View Context”.
Another way to open a context view is to quickly drag any item to the left a short ways and then release it. This is called a gesture. Doing so will always quickly open a context view for the item. It’s like quickly pulling a folder out of a stack of folders;
except in this case it is a topic and you quickly get to see the full context of the topic you pulled out.
We are now viewing the full context of the topic Favorites and AKIN has auto-expanded to the specific context you indicated, and is now showing you all its sub-topics without hiding any. Context viewing of topics in
this way is powerful, because you will instantly be able to see if there are any other places on your system where the specified topic also exists. It’s a sort of 360 degree view of the topic. In this case we pulled out
the topic “favorites” to view its full context under “Nate’s Files”. However, if the topic or directory folder “favorites” existed anywhere else in your system that AKIN was monitoring, you would be shown the other contexts
as well so that you could choose to explore them. This makes navigation and browsing in AKIN more associative, and many times has the effect of reminding you about things you may have forgotten, producing a significant
increase in “aha!” moments.
Relevant History Tracking
We’ve all run into the situation before where we’ve looked at something and then closed it and then a little while later wanted to view it again. Within certain applications like Word, Excel, and Power Point, you can access the recent items. However, what
about recent topics, music, video, or images you’ve viewed? AKIN has a better way. It tracks all the items you seem to actively “touch” through AKIN (double click, drag around, open) and gives you a running history of that work flow:
You can click on any of the items in the recent list and view it again, or drag it out for a context view, etc. For privacy and convenience, if you want to clear this history, you just right click in the window and select “Clear”.
Clicking on an item in the item results pane causes AKIN to show a quick “ghost preview” of the item which automatically disappears when you click on another item, or on its own after a couple seconds. This allows you to quickly
move through items without worrying about having to manually close the preview windows.
When you drag your cursor over the preview window, it will become completely opaque and stay open until you move your cursor out of the preview window, at which point it will then auto-close after a short delay. At any time, you can double-click on any item
to open it for viewing/editing in its native application environment. However, you can also pin the preview window open so it doesn't auto-close. Additionally, when the main AKIN window is maximized, the preview window becomes the full size of the left
hand Topics pane.
When you click on items in AKIN, it will compare the item to the original search phrase and suggest new search phrases for you.
When you view the context of any item, it will proactively look for other related
items it knows about.
Additionally, when it comes to email, AKIN auto-generates specific common queries to help you understand the context of those emails. By dragging an email item result into the topics pane, you can treat the email item as if it were itself a topic. AKIN
then generates queries that cover the common email questions:
- What other emails do I have about this topic/subject?
- What other emails have I received from the sender or recipient?
- What other emails have I sent to the sender or recipient?
Clicking on any of the queries will instantly bring you the results of the query into the upper right side quadrant.
AKIN is tightly integrated with Outlook, and allows you to search AKIN from within the context of the Outlook email explorer:
Just type in a search phrase and AKIN will pop up with results you can use.
If you don’t want the AKIN search pane visible, you can always close it, and use the AKIN ribbon tab to perform searches:
Sticky Work Surfaces and Context View Surfaces
Hopefully, you are getting the sense that the AKIN user interface work surfaces are in many ways dynamic, rather than the normal static surfaces you’ll get from other search tools. Another surface AKIN provides is called the Sticky Work Surface. Its purpose is to allow you to place and group any combination of topics and items on the surface and work with that information. These surfaces can be “docked” to the AIKIN UI, or “pinned” to an area of the desktop screen. This allows you to reduce the number of windows you need to have opened at any time, and provides a convenient way for you to organize tasks, work with the information, and come back to things later.
Clicking on any item and dragging quickly to the right will open a new Sticky Work Surface and place the item on the surface. Then, you can drag any other additional topics or items onto that surface.
Notice that you can even drag music onto the surface, and when you do it shows a “Playlist” menu that you can click on and it will automatically create a playlist for any music items present and open Windows Media Player to play it.
The Topics pane of the Context View surface also allows the user to drop multiple items on it so that you can have one view that lets you work with those items rather than having a bunch of windows open or needing to close and re-open windows multiple times.
The difference is that context views are specifically for the purpose of working with topic or item context temporarily and are not pinnable. However, the topics and items you drop onto the surface can be pinned so that they do not disappear each time a
search is performed.
As mentioned above, context views do not only accommodate topics but also items. You can drag any item into a context view to instantly see the full context of that item. Where does it reside? What other items in your system have similar names
(and where are they)? What other topics are related to this item?
We’ve saved one of our favorites for last. The Browse button in AKIN allows you to view all the scanned topics or directory folders as a single virtual directory of topics. What that means is that if you had AKIN index your “My Documents” as well as a
couple other specific file directories, you can now browse all the topics/folders within those directories in one single virtual directory.
Notice these are all blue folders. Nothing is hidden because you are viewing the roots of all the virtually joined directories. Note however, the check box above called “Flat Topic Browsing On”. If you check that box, it will turn on a feature called Flat
Topics normally all reside either at the root, or “under” other topic hierarchies. Flat Topic Browsing takes all the sub-topics under all root topics and brings them all up to the same surface level.
This means we can literally see EVERYTHING in one view without having to dig down into hierarchies to fish for things, which can be fatiguing.
Rather than presenting you with several entries for each sub-topic that is found, the sub-topics are “consolidated” into context views. Notice that we now we see both blue folders and the other icon that means we are viewing the entire set of contexts for a given topic.
This is very useful because sometimes we organize things down deep in some hierarchy of information, and then we forget where exactly we placed it or what exactly it was called. With AKIN, you have more choices. You can either go digging around in various
hierarchy trees to try and find it, or you can just bring ALL of the topics to the surface and quickly scroll through them to see if you recognize the topic you are looking for. If you find it, you can simply expand it and it will let you know where it was
located and also the other items associated with it.