Microsoft invests in Atlas, a startup building a search engine for your digital footprint

Atlas Informatics, a Seattle-based startup, has announced that Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold, the Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft CTO, and Aspect Ventures have invested a collective $20.7 million in the company, as reported by GeekWire.

After coming out of stealth mode last year, the company has released their first product – Atlas Recall – sometime back. At the moment, Atlas Recall is available as an open beta for Mac (with a companion iOS app), with Windows 10 support coming soon.

Jordan Ritter, Atlas CEO and former Napster co-founder, calls Atlas Recall a “searchable photographic memory for our entire digital life.” The software runs in the background using the accessibility features in the operating system to capture an index of semi-structured text. It keeps an encrypted record of everything a user is doing across different apps and services. Atlas also integrates with Google search and Spotlight on Mac and allows a user to use those platforms to search across their digital footprint.

“What we’re really building is search that works like your memory. Very often when you remember things, you remember where you were, or who you were with, or who you sent something to. That type of contextual search is very unique to what we’re doing, and it happens because we are remembering these documents at the time when you have them open.”
– Travis Murdock, VP – Marketing, Atlas

Atlas Recall looks like a very interesting product, and I can’t wait to try out the Windows 10 version and see how it differs from or builds on what Cortana offers. What do you think about Atlas Recall, and does it remind you of old Google Desktop Search and Windows Live Search for Desktop offerings from many years ago – but with more context built in?

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