Visual Reflections

We are passing through an important technical revolution that may have long term impact on our society. This is the revolution brought by camera technology introduced in mobile phones. This is easily observed by entrepreneurs. Considering how easy it has become to capture photos using your mobile phone camera that is always with you, many companies started developing applications to make the camera useful. In the last few months at least 50 new companies seem to have appeared to allow you to share the pictures using your camera. Instagram, Picplz and Path seem to be the one that have received good publicity and possibly good investments to make your ‘moments’ more shareable.
There is definitely a major shift in the way people share experiences. Clearly, it is easier to share a photo than type a tweet for most people. And as they say a photo is worth a 1000 words.
However, your capture of visual moments is usually motivated not only by instant urge to share, but much more by your desire to freeze the moment and preserve it for later sharing with others; in fact sharing more with yourself in the form of reliving the moment or reflecting on the moment. Your visual memories are usually more precious to you than most other things.
Now that mobile phone cameras make it effortless to capture your moments visually, can we also develop some approaches to preserve them and organize them to so we can easily reflect on those?
I started on a project related to this almost 2 decades ago — unfortunately that was too early. That project resulted many research efforts and in a company called Virage. The problem, however, remained unsolved. It appears that time has come to make it happen again. We need to develop approaches to make visual reflections natural and easier. I believe that mobile phone cameras will bring that to us. Soon, very soon indeed, I will be able to describe a project that has made excellent progress in providing natural environment for capturing and preserving your visual moments.

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