Many of you are wondering about why Memoto has to consist of both hardware and software, or perhaps rather why the software part of Memoto has to reside in the cloud instead of on your own computer.
This is a choice we made a long time ago, and it is so ingrained in how we think about Memoto that we have neglected to really explain the reasoning behind this. I am truly sorry for this and will do my best to amend it.
The bottom line is that making the choice of placing Memoto software in the cloud right from the start has opened up a wide range of possibilities for us, that really has become the core values of what we are trying to create. Without this choice, Memoto wouldn’t exist today at all. Here is why.
First off, Memoto is for life. Call me stupid or naive, but I can’t make myself literally spend several years of my life on Memoto as a project without seeing that we have the opportunity to create something that will have long-lasting value. All of our choices are made in this perspective.
We are creating something new, something that didn’t exist before. In doing so we need to solve a lot of problems that no one has solved before. The hardest problem we have to solve is the obvious one: What do we do with all the photos? They need to be stored safely, effortlessly and affordably, while still being accessible from anywhere. Failing on just one of those points would immediately undo Memoto. We would simply have failed.
Storing data safely
Safe storage of data is hard, and storing it safely over a long time is even harder.
I am writing this on a Macbook Air which is just a couple of years old, and I completely trust that it won’t all of a sudden break down and loose what information I right now store on it. Or rather I don’t, because I try to keep the important stuff in my Dropbox. Looking back over time, the stuff I kept the computers I had ten years ago or earlier is mostly gone. It has evaporated through disorganization, hardware failures and negligence.
And it is not only computers that are temporary. If any of you have old albums of polaroid photos from 30 or so years back, you know that they are now all turned completely blank. All around the world, people are keeping old photo albums where the photos are now just white squares and the descriptions are all that remain.
This can’t happen with the memories I capture with Memoto. They must remain for life. And the only way I can accomplish this is by having them stored away from my own computer, just like Dropbox does.
Storing data effortlessly and affordably
The fact is that the Memoto Camera produces a terrible amount of data every day. 4 GB of photos from a full day, is 40 GB from ten days (no matter if they are consecutive or not), is 400 GB from a hundred days. Storing the data safely means that every photo need to be duplicated onto at least two physical storage units. Preferably that are kept apart so that fires, ants or simple theivery won’t take both away.
There is no way we could make Memoto useful if we demand from all of our customers that they keep external drives connected to their laptop, and as the pile of photos grow over the years, keep shuffling the data around to new drives as the older ones risk failing. And obeying the commands of the Memoto search engine on what drive to insert in order access data from a specific time period. Not to speak of the cost and effort of buying all that storage.
All this is handled graciously by having the data stored in the cloud. Safe, effortless and affordable storage is readily available. There is no other way of accomplishing this that we have been able to come up with.
Making Memoto accessible from anywhere
Above all, we don’t want Memoto to be something that is stuck in your home, available only for reminiscing on the past once in a while when you get the inspiration to do so. We want Memoto to be of value on the fly, when out in the street or at work. We are making your memories searchable, and we want Memoto to become an extension of your mind. We want to be with you in your life, wherever you are.
This is only possible to accomplish if we make great apps that can reside on your smartphone, which also have access to your data. If your photos are on your computer back home, our effort on creating useful apps will be wasted since they can’t access your photos and make them searchable.
The sky, or rather the API, is the limit
We also don’t want our own imagination to limit the usefulness of Memoto. We want to enable third party developers to build on top of the foundation we are laying down, rather than having to start from scratch each and everyone.
We want other people to dream up new ways of visualizing and searching lifelogging data. We want specialized apps for pet owners, scrapbookers, parents, people with memory disorders, you name it.
We also want Memoto to be social, to allow you to share your memories with others. And to create whole new ways of remembering together by putting different perspectives on the same occasions side by side.
All this is made possible by having the photos from the Memoto Camera stored in the cloud. Our team is too small and has too complex problems to solve as it is, to also take into account that a lot of these problems need to be solved even if the data is on the user’s own computer. We can’t get where we want to get without taking advantage of the cloud.
Some of you might be saying “But I don’t want all this stuff. I just want a lifelogging camera”. And that is fine, Memoto doesn’t need to be for everyone. If you want something that Memoto is not, we are sure that someone else will come up with a slightly different take on lifelogging that will perhaps suit you better.
Your memories are your property
We will work hard on restructuring our FAQ and presentation to make a lot of the above much more clear and concise. But to reiterate one of the points we hope have come across: You will always be able to download your data, piece by piece or in bulk. You own your data. And while it remains in our safekeeping, we will keep it secure and always accessible.
I love and respect all of you that have strong opinions on how Memoto should work. It means you care about what we are doing enough to want to help us making it perfect for you. It is the greatest feeling in the world to have other people care about your own hopes and dreams. We are listening intently. If you have different opinions on anything we do, keep letting us know. Wreck havoc if need be to make us listen. We want to make the best we can out of this endeavour. Memoto is for life.