One of the most useful features of Mac OS is Spotlight—hit “command-space bar,” then type a term into the search field and Apple quickly skims through everything on your hard drive. As more data moves to disparate places online, however, more personal info is escaping Spotlight’s beam.

Enter Greplin, which presented today at incubator Y Combinator’s Demo Day. When it launches, the company plans to index data from any cloud-based service you give it access to: Dropbox, Facebook, Gmail, Google Calendar, Flickr, etc.. Then it provides a search engine for all of that personal data. The results are organized by service and ranked by relevance.

Founder Daniel Gross (pictured below) says the company will monetize with keyword advertising, charging for mobile services (the online version will be free), and offering premium plans that will index business services like Basecamp, Google Apps, or Outlook. The implicit personal profile that Greplin could generate and use for targeted advertising is arguably even stronger than the profile Google can develop with search behavior. Gross is not humble about his ambition to build the next Google. Of course, Google already offers Google Desktop, which is similar to Spotlight, and could easily flesh that out to incorporate Greplin-like functionality, and give the company some stiff competition.

Beta testing invites can be requested at

[Photo: JP Manninen]

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