If you have the impression that information overload may be becoming a problem for you in this digital age, listen to Robby Walker, co-founder and CTO of Cue.
“Is there is too much information out there? Yes there is,” says Walker. “We sampled how much digital information enters the average person’s life each day, and we found that it averages 63,000 words per day.”
That’s just the average. For people actively involved with the tech industry, like Walker, the data flow is many times larger.
“I get twelve times as much information incoming as the average user,” he says. “A necessary life skill I’ve had to develop is how to miss the right stuff.”
In order to help people cope with this massive data flood, and better manage their daily lives, Walker and his co-founder Daniel Gross built Cue, which in its earlier iteration was called Greplin.
After a year and a half of development as Greplin, Cue launched this past June.
Cue’s tagline is “Know what’s next.” The free app scans multiple sources to alert you throughout the day of what you most need to know to function efficiently.
It integrates Gmail, Google Apps Mail, Yahoo Mail, AOL mail, iCloud mail, Google Calendar, Google Apps Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Contacts, Google Apps Contacts, Google Docs, Google Apps Docs, Dropbox, Delicious, Pinboard, Tumblr, Reddit, and Google Reader.
There is also a premium version that integrates Evernote, Yammer, Salesforce, Highrise, Basecamp, and Campfire for $4.99/month (or $49.99/year).
The key thing to recognize about the volume of data currently saturating our lives is that it’s not going to stop growing any time soon.
“It's bad and getting worse over time,” notes Gross. “The size of the average digital corpus for an individual is already equivalent to the whole Internet's size in the late nineties.”
Cue operates as an intelligent technology that picks up signals from your email accounts, social media networks, calendars, and other digital services, as well as all the other data sources out there on the web to organize the who, what, where, when, and why of your world.
Thus, if you have a meeting in 25 minutes with someone named Julia, Cue will identify the right Julia from your contacts, surface your email history with her, her photo, relevant connections you share with her, a map of the meeting site, the title (purpose) of the meeting, her phone number and other contact info, etc.
It also can surface all your relevant travel information as you embark on a trip. Overall, it’s like having a personal assistant that fetches everything you need to know when you most need it.
A question some users will have is whether allowing an app like Cue to have access to so much of their personal information is safe.
“One thing we take very seriously is how to honor the security and privacy of our users,” says Walker. “We take a lot of care in how to do it and make it safe. We hired top security experts.”
Cue chose to institute military-grade security measures.
“We want to build a brand where you feel safe, and we're trusted,” says Walker. The service is easy to opt-out of, should a user try it and decide not to continue using it. The company then deletes that user's data, and does not keep it lying around in the background, as some sites, like Facebook do.
Cue is available on the web and iOS, with an Android version coming in the future. The team of 13 works from the startup’s office in Soma.
(Note: To read about more startups that are changing the world, please check out my ebook, 30 Startups to Know Now.)