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An App-Led Walk Down Memory Lane

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A smartphone running the Memoir app.

Memoir collects photos and social-network updates to serve up when you might like to look back on them.

Credit: MIT Technology Review

Memoir, a free iPhone app that accesses photos and status updates from a user's various social networks, generates this data based on the user's location, what is going on, and who else is around.

Memoir and similar apps may be more successful at keeping users interested than a diary, which requires significant effort, notes Iowa State University professor Jason Chan. Once a user has given Memoir permission to access information on their phone and social networks, Memoir collects all of their linked photos, check-ins, and other social signals, clustering overlapping information into separate memories on its servers. It generates a radius of time and location for each event and checks them against the user's friends' events to ascertain whether there might be any shareable images, says Memoir creator Lee Hoffman. He says apps such as Memoir mark the first moves toward a future in which everything is recorded and computers help to sort out what is important.

"As we get more and more data, whether we do it or somebody else, it's effectively going to be memory replacement/augmentation," Hoffman says.

Memoir attempts to remind the user of past memories of specific places and certain people, nudging the user with notifications and updates to the Memoir feed.

From Technology Review
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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