The Examined Life: Memoir Is an App That Catalogs Your Existence in Photographs

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you had pictures from your best friend’s wedding, but no idea where you saved them to? Or found yourself struggling to remember the name of the amazing cocktail you had at that little bar downtown? (What was that bar called again?)

Memoir, an app that (smartly) launched on iOS last week, hopes to help you remember. More ambitious than a simple photo sharing app, Memoir collects your pictures and relevant information about them and brings them all into one place, like a searchable digital scrapbook of your life. You can easily find out what you were up to on this day three years ago, or find every picture you’ve ever taken while checked in at Chipotle on Foursquare.

AllThingsD describes it as “TimeHop mashed up with Photo Stream.”

From Mashable:

Memoir syncs and stores photos from your phone and computer in the cloud, organizes them by date and then pulls in data from social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare to provide more social context. The app uses the time stamp and geolocation data to determine if a Foursquare check-in should be grouped together with an Instagram photo or a picture from your phone’s camera roll. Likewise, it analyzes data about those you’re connected to on social networks to determine if they were part of a particular moment, even if you never tagged them, and makes it easy to search for moments you shared.

Memoir’s default privacy settings keep your data accessible just to you, but it also makes sharing your photos and memories with friends a snap. While it has lots of features perfect for a person who simply wants to catalog and store memories for personal use, taking advantage of the app’s social capabilities lets you save your friends’ photos and use them to form a more complete picture of a memory.

The thing I think is the coolest about this app is its search function. Memoir promises to use find the photos you’re looking for even if you didn’t caption or tag them in a detailed way. For example, if you search the app for “David Central Park,” it should pull up photos from your phone and social networks from the time you visited central park with your friend David. It even knows if David has photos of the same event, and allows you to request them from him if you want.

The folks behind Memoir hope to eventually integrate it with Google Glass in such a way that video memories can be saved and made searchable so they can be re-enjoyed for years to come.

“Basically everything that your memory does, we can do if we have enough data being captured,” creator Lee Hoffman told Mashable.

Obviously Memoir’s success isn’t guaranteed – similar apps have come and gone. But do you think the concept behind it is forward-thinking? Is device-enhanced memory storage – not in the haphazard, hodgepodge manner that exists currently, but in the detailed and complex way Memoir envisions – going to be accepted as a given 10 or 20 years into the future? Will we all be walking around with Glass-like devices on our faces, recording and storing and filing away each moment for analysis or further viewing? Time will tell.

(via Mashable)