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Summary:

In a turnaround bid, doo has stopped trying to promote its own cloud storage in version 2.0, opting instead to just be a unified layer of intelligence over other services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Doo 2

With documents being stored across all sorts of cloud services these days – Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive – a unified management tool can be a valuable tool for some. Germany’s doo tried to fill this role, but it went about it the wrong way. Now, chastened, it’s back with doo 2.0.

So what went wrong with version 1.0? After all, in theory it provided a neat unified space in which you could combine documents from those third-party services (including email accounts) with documents that have been scanned in, and those that are stored locally on the device. The idea was to use optical character recognition and smart auto-tagging to classify and organize this data – kind of like iTunes for documents.

According to CEO Frank Thelen, the problem was that doo was encouraging users to import all those documents to doo’s own cloud storage facility – an attempt to add backup and cross-platform sync to the mix, but not something users really wanted. Doo 1.0 only scored 250,000 downloads, which Thelen characterized as a disaster. (I also imagine offering its own storage added unnecessary expense to doo’s operations, too.)

Synchronizing in a two-way fashion with the likes of Google Drive and Evernote – so documents could be downloaded to the doo cloud for management then re-uploaded – was a big headache for the Bonn company. And at the time, doo also had trouble managing all the different languages that documents were written in, and couldn’t extract plain text to a satisfactory level.

Doo 2.0 finally brings everything together,” he said. “The main mission is the same, but we don’t promote our own cloud storage anymore. Now we’re just a smart umbrella over it, so whatever you want to do, you have all your documents in one app.”

Doo cloud storage is still an option, but the company may remove it one day – it’s now quite happy to have users just automatically save their documents to third-party services, and to position itself as adding a layer of intelligence on top of those services.

The doo iOS and Android apps include scanning functionality for receipts and the like, with optical character recognition and auto-tagging still in there (hopefully in an improved form) to result in a searchable PDF that can then be saved to Google Drive, Evernote or wherever. That searchability is ultimately the point of doo – it teases out everything from email locations and phone numbers to links and geolocations.

Doo 2.0 is out now for Android, iPhone, OS X and Windows 8. For now, the service only has a free tier, but Thelen said doo would in future add premium paid-for features – he wouldn’t say what they will entail, other than that they will represent “advanced intelligence.”

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