Karelia Software

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Karelia Software
IndustrySoftware publishing
HeadquartersAlameda, California
ProductsSandvox, iMedia Browser

Karelia Software, or Karelia is a software company with a headquarters in Alameda, California that claims to pioneer the desktop Web application market. It was founded by Dan Wood and later joined by Terrence Talbot. The company derives its name from the Karelia Suite of classical music by Jean Sibelius. The name can also refer to Karelia, a historical province in eastern Finland.


Active products[edit]

  • Sandvox, a new website creation tool for Mac OS X, released in May 2006. Version 2.0 was released in May 2011. Latest version is 2.10.12 and was published 26 September 2018.
  • iMedia Browser, a freeware media library program for Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Discontinued products[edit]

  • Watson, an Internet browsing and searching utility for Mac OS X, similar to Apple's Sherlock.
  • TuneFinder, a melody finder for the classic Mac OS and Mac OS X (issued as an early development preview).

Company history[edit]

Original Karelia Software logo.

The original Karelia logo was inspired by events that occurred shortly after Dan Wood created Watson. The application was designed as a complement to Apple's existing Sherlock 2 application, providing users various plug-ins to view specific internet content. Watson was released in November 2001, and the popularity of the program grew quickly.

Wood was later invited to a meeting at Apple, in which he was shown a demo of Sherlock 3, which incorporated the same look and nearly all of the modules featured in Watson.[1] After voicing his displeasure to Apple Developer Relations, Wood received a phone call from Steve Jobs, during which Jobs indicated that he saw Karelia as the handcar in the way of the steam train that owns the tracks[2] (a very similar experience to that of Cabel Sasser of Panic Software).[3] Despite this setback, Karelia Software has continued to create popular Mac software and has since incorporated the train tracks and handcar into their logo.

When Apple introduced Sherlock 3 at the World Wide Developer's Conference the following May, the similarities to Watson were striking.[4] User support for Karelia and the Watson program remained high, due in part to the poor user response to the slow speed and restrictions of Sherlock 3.[5]

Dan Wood worked with Sun Microsystems in late 2003 in an attempt to develop to port Watson to Java.[6] The project was later cancelled, allowing Wood and the Karelia team to return full-time to the development of Mac OS X applications.

Karelia's next Macintosh application was the popular and well-received[7][8] Sandvox for web design. Sandvox was released as a public beta in January 2006,[9] Sandvox 1.0 was announced in May 2006,[10] and Sandvox 1.2 won the runner-up Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X User Experience in 2007.[11]

Karelia released Sandvox 2 in May 2011.[12] In December 2012, it was one of the 20 apps selected to Apple's Mac App Store Best of 2012.[13]

In March 2014, Karelia acquired The Potion Factory,[14] an independent Mac software company. The latter's applications, The Hit List for Mac and iPhone, I Love Stars, Tangerine!, and Five Moku have been added to Karelia's suite of software products. Andy Kim, head of Potion Factory, joined Karelia as part of the deal.

As of April 2019, Karelia has not responded to support requests for a year, nor has it responded to questions on its community forum for a year. It last posted a statement on its company blog in July 2018. As of November 2020, the user forum has been taken down.


  1. ^ "Indie Fever - The genesis, culture and economy of a community of independent software developers on the Mac OS X platform" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  2. ^ The Long Story Behind Karelia's New Logo
  3. ^ The True Story of Audion
  4. ^ The Mac Observer - Watson Developer Speaks Out Against Apple; Plans Port To Windows
  5. ^ Baltimore Sun - Sherlock or Watson? It's elementary
  6. ^ Sun licenses search software for desktop push
  7. ^ Software Editorial - Sandvox 1.5 Software Review
  8. ^ cnet - Sandvox: Create Web sites easily
  9. ^ "Geek Patrol - Sandvox Public Beta Available Now". Archived from the original on 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  10. ^ MacNN Karelia's Sandvox 1.0 builds Websites
  11. ^ Macworld - Apple Design Awards presented at WWDC
  12. ^ The Karelia Blog - At last...Sandvox 2.0 has arrived!
  13. ^ MacStories.net - Apple Posts “Best Of App Store 2012″ Lists
  14. ^ Karelia Software Acquires Potion Factory

External links[edit]