The Telegraph
| Monday, December 12, 2016 |


Atlas shrugged, Atlas regained

#TechTonic - SURIT DOSS

Today, everything exists to end in a photograph. Even your life on the Net. Every web page you read, every email you open, every photograph you savour, every chat you participate in becomes meaningful only when they are photographed and archived.

You know you watched a real funny video on YouTube months ago but you can't for the life of you recall it. Imagine the frustration! To jog your memory, you need Atlas Recall. Atlas Recall redefines a search engine. It is a product of Atlas Informatics, a startup in Seattle. It gives you a photographic memory of everything that goes across your computer screen and across all your devices, apps and cloud services.

When you download Atlas Recall, it constantly runs in the background of each device it is installed on. Anytime you interact with an app, web page or word document on the device, Atlas indexes the interaction, recording the time, type and the number of minutes spent with it. It encrypts the data for storage in a secure cloud. Then, when you need to remember something, you can use the tool and Recall will provide you with thumbnails of all the matching windows so you can visualise and find what you wanted.

The beauty of it all is that it works on vague recollections. Your memory may be blurred but that is enough for Recall. Other engines rely on keywords or search history. Recall moves across all platforms and casts a wider net by using context. When you look through search history in your browser, you will get only the names and addresses. But with Recall, the page will be opened for you.

Recall was launched last month for free beta testing on Macs and iPhones. You can download it from . The mobile companion app is available on Apple's App Store but it requires the desktop version. Recall for iPhone for now just lets you find, open, and share the things you have seen on your desktop. It does not yet capture the things you do on your iPhone. Eventually, with Recall you would be able to search your messages too.

Once you have downloaded the tool, a search can begin in Safari or Google Chrome or even on your Mac's Spotlight. You can install Recall on more than one Mac. A search on any one of them will display the screens of all the Macs. You will have to first complete a 15-item survey so that Recall can get to know you and your preferred digital resources better.

Recall indexes everything you encounter on your computer and mobile, but it doesn't need access to those services and hence will not ask you for the passwords. Don't worry, it has end-to-end encryption. Moreover, you can easily block or delete whatever you don't want it to remember. You have the option of controlling your data. You can block items from appearing in a search. You can also set it up so that certain naughty websites you visit or files you open are not captured.

However, the fact that your whole digital life may be sitting on the cloud may bother you. Among the types of personal data that this application collects, by itself or through third parties, are cookies, usage data and email addresses. But Atlas Recall promises that they are keeping it safe and that they will never sell your data to a third party. The Atlas team may analyse product usage in order to improve its design, tools and new features, but their team will not have access to the contents of the documents or files remembered or shared through Recall.

Privacy concerns aside, the benefits are immense. If you do not have a Mac or iPhone, sign up for the Windows 10 version of Atlas Recall right away.

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