Here’s an amazing statistic: The average person receives 63,000 words of new information every day. That’s about the length of a novel. The cascade comes in the form of e-mails, tweets, Facebook updates, and a zillion further ways we consume data these days. “If you had this crazy idea and wanted to read everything you got in 2011,” says Robby Walker, who calculated the words-per-day statistic, “it would take you the first three months of 2012.”
Walker is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Greplin, which in 2011 built an iPhone app to help people make sense of this morass. Users could connect the app to their e-mail and social-media accounts, and Greplin provided one search box to rule them all. You’d never have to remember whether that birthday party invitation came via e-mail or a Facebook message or a Google Calendar invite—just Greplin it.