When Samsung debuts a new phone it’s always full of tons of new features, some useful and some not so useful. S-Voice is one of those less useful ones, doing most of the stuff Google Now already does, and in the past it wasn’t always so accurate either. With the Galaxy Note 3 Samsung has introduced a new S app called S-Finder, and immediately people were scratching their heads wondering “why?” I was definitely in that camp, but after using it I’ve got to say, it’s an incredibly useful app and one that I’ll be sure to incorporate into my daily routine. So just what is S-Finder, you ask? Simply put it’s a complete searching utility that works something like Google Now meets Google Desktop Search in Windows. This includes stuff on the Web and stuff on your device, so searching for that picture you took at a concert last week might also give you text messages related to the same concert. To launch S-Finder, either hold down the menu button until it launches, or launch it from Air Command.
When you first open the app you’ll be greeted by a friendly dark blue/gray background, a search bar with the S-Voice logo, and 3 rows of scrollable text that you can pick from. This scrollable text contains dates, types of things to search for such as notes or text messages, and tags to bring your search down to a specific set of items. These last set of tags can be anything from a keyword to a location, and when chosen will bring up anything related to said word or location. If I click Florida for instance, S-Finder brings up anything it can find related to Florida. Since I live in Florida it brings up practically every category it can find something in. If I search for puppies, for instance, S-Finder finds a few things on Ebay related to puppies, but it also prompts me to do a Google search since it didn’t find anything else on my phone.
After doing a search if you scroll down, S-Finder breaks up information into categories. For instance if I click on the little down arrow next to Gallery it’ll open up a full list of all the stuff it found in my gallery in a nice tile format. Scrolling further down the page in S-Finder gives me other categories like Calendar, Action Memo, S-Note, etc. If you just want to find notes that you wrote while in Orlando for instance, you can click on Notes in the type category, and Orlando in the location category, and you’ll then be presented with said information. It’s a really fantastic layout and it’s really quick too. If you’re familiar with the way Windows caches this type of information then you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say the search is fast. For those not familiar with this, open up your start menu if you’re on a Windows computer and start typing something in to search for. You’ll quickly understand how this works.
Settings for S-Finder are a bit on the light side, with only 3 options total. “Result Display Order” will allow you to more accurately sort your results to your liking, and even features a custom category that lets you specify which apps and services you’d like S-Finder to search through and therefore prioritize. If there are apps on this list that you don’t like you can remove them from the list by going into “Select Search Category” and deselecting those particular apps or services. S-Finder is simple but powerful, and just might help you look for many things instead of always having to search around for that one text, email or picture all the time. Enabling location tags in S-Note or the Camera are crucial to S-Finder working its best, so if you’ve got a Galaxy Note 3 and haven’t done this yet, go into the settings for each of those apps and enable location tag storage. Will this replace Google Now for some people? It’s entirely possible since it gives you the option to search the web, but S-Finder is supposed to serve a different purpose than Google Now anyway. So while Samsung has provided an excellent alternative to Google Now in many ways, it works more like a companion than anything.