Lists & Search
Rob Cheung, 21 Jun 2016
One way I like to think about Fin is a ‘search engine for my brain’. I use Fin for a lot of digital tasks like finding information, messaging people, and scheduling things, but as Fin helps with these tasks, it also keeps a memory around those tasks.
This means that I can use it to recall things, like the details of a dinner
ME: Last time I was in Chicago I had ramen w Sarah but can’t remember the spot
So more and more, I use Fin to just remember things.
ME wanna watch Breathless godard rec via ben gut
As you interact with Fin, asking for things, telling it things, Fin breaks down content from conversations semantically and categorically, leaving you with a very versatile index for all of the information that you’ve put in, explicitly or implicitly. So you can recall information with key concepts, not just keywords.
ME: what was that french movie ben told me about a few weeks ago?
With the latest release, we’re beginning to expose parts of this indexed graph inside of the Fin app through a new Lists interface.
The Lists feature is more than simple collections, because when you say ‘I want to watch Breathless’, Fin doesn’t just append that title to a running list of ‘Movies to Watch’. Rather, Fin breaks it apart, realizing separately that Breathless is a French film, and that it’s something you’d like to watch.
This means that your list ’Movies to Watch’ is just a specific slice of what Fin understands to be your relationship with the world. Fin keeps information at a semantic level, so you can surface lists for anything you’d like — people you’ve mentioned to Fin, work todos, articles to read, things to think about later. We’ve added some general lists for you already, but if you want others just ask Fin to create them. To remove something from a list, tell Fin why it doesn’t belong, or just swipe it from the list.
The card items in a list represent Fin’s understanding of what that entity is, and how it’s related to you. Cards come with relevant context like where you were when you mentioned this item and all of the conversations you’ve had with Fin about it. Language is sometimes ambiguous, so some information won’t be entirely accurate. If you notice inaccuracies when browsing or want to talk about information on a list or card with Fin, you can send messages directly from that list or card to have Fin explain or update its understanding.
Another thing you’ll notice in the latest version of the app is that the text composer also acts as a filter for conversations and lists. When trying to recall something that you’ve told Fin, you can always just ask, but it’s nice to get an instant answer if you know some of the context you’re looking for.
I love using Fin as a search for my brain because in many situations my memory just isn’t good enough. Thinking about memory, and how computers can act as an aide, this direction for input and retrieval of information feels right. We at Fin are extremely optimistic about the value in a personal information graph, and we’re excited to be able to start exposing pieces of this graph in our app through this iteration of dynamic lists and search.