Yesterday Gravity Apps released a new file system tagging solution called, simply enough, Tags. Even after playing with it for less than a day, I can say definitively that Tags is the most elegant and easy to use tagging solution available on the Mac, and I strongly recommend that anyone interested in a generic file tagging solution give it a try. Using an approach to tagging reminiscent of Quicksilver, Tags allows you to tag virtually anything on your computer by invoking a single hotkey (control-space by default). And when I say virtually anything, I mean exactly that: files in Finder, emails in Mail, addresses in Address Book, bookmarks in Safari, photos in iPhoto, and the list goes on. Once you’ve tagged a few files you can find them easily simply by hitting the hotkey twice and using Tags’ searching interface, by creating a Smart Folder from within Tags, or simply by prefacing the tag with “tag:” in a Spotlight search. This is the first application I’ve used where tagging items and then searching for them in Spotlight just felt like magic; Gravity Apps has obviously paid very close attention to making Tags a first class OS X citizen.
The best news, however, is that besides being beautiful and so easy to use my tech-challenged grandmother could probably figure it out, Tags doesn’t use Spotlight comments or any other such hackery to accomplish its tagging. It instead uses extended attributes in a way that is compatible (or possibly identical) with OpenMeta, the open source tagging framework recently released by Ironic Software and incorporated into their photo tag browser Deep. For anyone who has been frustrated with the numerous limitations of Spotlight comment tagging, this is fantastic news indeed. Tags is available as a free trial from the Tags website, and when you’re ready to buy is priced at $29.