Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Heyday App Is a Journal of Your Life That Writes Itself

An iPhone app called Heyday launches today — it compiles a record of its owner’s life, based on places visited and photos taken.

This is a topic I’ve been particularly interested in, as it becomes more evident that using social networks seems to turn many of us into boasting oversharers, rather than keeping records of how we actually lived — records that will stand up in the long term.

Heyday has been 18 months in the works by a team in San Francisco, in part because it is engineered to give users the option to store all the personal information they give the app only on their phone, rather than on the company’s servers.

“If we live on a server, people won’t trust us,” said Heyday co-founder and CEO Siqi Chen, who formerly started a gaming company and sold it to Zynga.

Plus, the benefit of local storage (which is carefully done so as not to take up too much space on the phone, according to Chen) is that the Heyday app is startlingly fast at scrolling forward and backward through your life, unlike some other personal record apps, such as Memoir, Timehop and Path.

Heyday’s goal is to create a perfect, private journal that mostly writes itself.

“The moment you think, ‘Is this something I want people to see?’ you start self-censoring,” Chen said. “So you don’t have complete memory.”

Obviously, if the idea of keeping a perfect record of your life creeps you out — or if you’re worried about unintended consequences — you don’t have to download Heyday.

But the trick with such an app will be helping people find value from it in the days and months and years after Heyday records their moments. Heyday does that in a few ways.

For instance, it automatically creates really nice montages of batches of photos that were taken at the same time. First, Heyday detects pictures with faces and good focus. Then it chooses a good layout, and automatically applies filters. People can swap out the pictures, change the order and apply different filters.

For some people, this will be reason enough to use Heyday, as the automatic collages are created and edited much more smoothly than with alternatives like Pic Stitch that are commonly used to upload multiple photos together on Instagram and elsewhere.

Heyday also notifies users about the last time they were in the same place, and creates time capsules of every time their phone has ever visited a place. Every so often, the app prompts users to capture their thoughts.

“We call it personal software,” said Chen. “It’s not social. It doesn’t have a feed.”

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