Let's state the obvious first: Business people use multiple apps. Take a quick look at how many you have open right now -- there's email, document management, contact management, and all the other apps that you use as part of your daily routine. And each one of them has its own search engine.
But what if you could search across all of those apps simultaneously from a single interface? This is the thinking that Zoho, a vendor of online apps including productivity app suites, is pushing with its Zoho Actionable Search: Searching not just the data in one particular application, but all of the business data in your email and Zoho apps.
[ Last month, InfoWorld reported on Google revamping its search results page to make it "less segmented and more organic." ]
Actionable Search isn't just about having a unified search engine; Zoho also is aiming to make search results pertinent and contextual. For example, if your search results include an email, Actionable Search will give you the presence information of the person who sent the email. If the results include a document, they will also include the presence information of the original author, the timestamp of the last time the document was modified, and with whom the document is being shared.
And then there's the "actionable" part of Actionable Search. Simply put, you can take action on search results from right there in the search pane. If the search result is an email, you can reply to that email. If it's a document, you can view and share that document without having to launch a new application.
Again, Zoho Actionable Search only works with Zoho's productivity applications, so if you're, say, a Microsoft Office shop, you're out of luck for the time being. But Microsoft and Google both have Web productivity apps as well, and if they're smart, they'll be watching Actionable Search closely. Zoho may be serving a niche audience for the time being, but it can deservedly claim to be on the cutting edge of collaborative productivity.
This story, "Zoho introduces Actionable Search for businesses," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Killer Apps and follow the latest developments in applications at InfoWorld.com.