An A-list group of investors bet a new app called Memoir can do our remembering for us

By Erin Griffith , written on September 18, 2013

From The News Desk

The premise sounds a little looney: Memoir, an app that launched today, aims to "replace human memory."  It's based on the concept that we will use Google Glass to record everything we ever do. Memoir aims first to save our most notable memories, the things we take photos of. With Glass, it'll be smart enough to remind us where we left our keys, claims co-founder Lee Hoffman.

But that's a long way off.

Memoir graduated from Techstars NY in 2011, as an online education and quiz company called Veri. The company quickly raised $1.2 million from an A-list group of seed stage investors in New York, including Thrive Capital, Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Joel Spolsky, Bob Pasker, Box Group, Steve Cheney, Founder Collective, Quotidian Ventures and Shawn Kolodny.

What it launched today is a more elaborate version of one of my favorite apps, another Techstars NY grad, Timehop. With Timehop, users get a daily update that shows their social media activity from one year ago today, up to seven years ago today. However, the app recently pared back its features, killing the ability to share memories in-app and forcing users to share their old social updates on other social media networks.

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Memoir, on the other hand, is very social.

Part of that is because Memoir focuses mostly on photos and videos, which are the most sharable and exciting parts of your social media history anyhow. The same reason we'd rather share old photos over old Tweets is the same reason we tend to keep photo albums in the living room and our diaries and letters tucked away in a drawer. Photos can easily be shared with friends within the app.

The other social feature that I haven't experienced yet, but founder Lee Hoffman says captures the real "magic," of Memoir, is in sharing photos between friends. Using what Hoffman calls "a shit-ton of data science," mixed with your phone's address book, social media connections and photo geotagging, Memoir can glean who you've been hanging out with. Afterwards, you get an alert -- "Want to share your photos from last night with Erin?" And like that, I get access to photos my friends took of me, and they're permanently stored in my Memoir account. This is the promise of Albumatic, which did not catch on.

Beyond that, Timehop limits which memories you can see -- after each day passes, you no longer have access to that content. Memoir takes the opposite approach. With its sci-fi-sounding goal of replacing your memory, search is hugely important. It's not particularly fast, but once it loads, it's great. I searched, for example, for "PandoDaily," and Memoir made what is essentially a scrapbook of that goes back two years, with photos and links. If Memoir catches on as the place we store all our digital memories, this search function will become incredibly useful.

The company's business plan is to monetize with premium features like high resolution photo storage.

[Image via Wikimedia]