Phlat! by Seth Capistron
Hello World! My name’s Seth Capistron and I’m a new Explore Microsoft intern. So far my time in Redmond has been really exciting and I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer. For my first blog, I’ve decided to write about a recent talk I attended.
Yesterday we went to a Microsoft Research Cool Talk on Phlat. Phlat is a tool that lets users easily search through their e-mails, files, and web pages. It works on top of Windows Desktop Search and its main goal is simply to let people search for things on their computer using key elements that they remember. For example, someone may not know the subject of an e-mail, but they’ll remember who sent it and what some key phrases were. Phlat’s interface lets users easily build queries to find anything they want based only on what they remember.
I thought Phlat was really cool because they were looking towards the future where every file is accompanied by some sort of tag. Rather than filing things into folders, which have strict rules (a picture can only be placed in one folder), tags let you simply describe whatever’s in that file. One of the real problem with tags however is that it’s very tedious to go through all your files and add tags to them. One solution would be to make it easy to add tags to a file when you save or modify it. Another solution would be to let a computer automatically tag your files. I actually met an intern the other day who is working on audio fingerprinting software. Audio fingerprinting takes a sample of an audio file and attempts to match it to a record on a central server. If it finds a match, it will update the audio file’s tag to the correct artist and track info. It will definitely be interesting to see how Microsoft decides to handle the issue of identifying and searching for files.