This Bot Will Help You Unearth Your Forgotten 'Kodak Moments'

Over the course of a year, I take thousands of pictures that I either share on Facebook or Instagram or leave to die on my smartphone's camera roll. While the idea is that I'll go back and look at them at some point, truth be told that rarely happens. The closest I get is when something comes up in conversation, I remember I took a picture years ago, and I search through Google Photos or my Facebook photo gallery to see if I can find it, which I do roughly 50 per cent of the time. Now, Kodak has a new app and Facebook bot designed specifically to help you unearth those awesome memories that you captured by then forgot about.

Image credit: Pixabay

A few years ago I wrote a story for a magazine about how I thought digital photos were destroying our memories. I was moving at the time, and unearthed box after box of printed photos. Inside were hundreds of pictures I'd forgotten about from events I didn't remember at all. Thumbing through the pictures was a wonderful experience. A wonderful experience that I couldn't really see replicating.

Kodak's Moments Facebook bot is the closest I've come to the experience. The Facebook bot (and app) take a look at the photos on your phone's camera roll or in your Facebook photo gallery and produces a handful of them for you to look through at a time.

It isn't exactly a perfect experience. I used the Facebook bot version, which is supposed to use AI and algorithms to bring up the photos that are most meaningful to me.

"The app now leverages our unique image science capabilities and is designed to automatically surface your most important memories from within your camera roll on your phone or device," David Newhoff, VP Product, Kodak Moments Division, said in a press release announcing the app and bot.

For me, all that science was able to do at first was unearth my most popular Facebook posts of the past year, specifically people like Woz, Snoop Dogg and Tom Bulleit, whom I posted pictures with on Facebook after interviewing them. Yes, those pictures are great memories, but they were also within the last six months and they happened to be my most popular posts. Not exactly fond memories I need to be reminded of.

You get pictures delivered in small groups of four. After that first set of recent photos, I kept asking for more. My second group included a year-old picture of me getting a beer poured by a Hanson brother, and oddly, a photo of crap people left at my house after a Christmas party in 2010. That was… a memory.

Screenshot; Facebook/ E.Price

It took until my fifth attempt before I was able to get to things that were actually fond memories with non-famous people that I would like to remember. Albeit the time between group one of the photos and group five was probably a few minutes, but it did take a bit of digging. I also learned that apparently I post a lot of pictures of famous people, so that was a takeaway.

That said, the experience was actually kind of nice. My fifth attempt included a baby picture of my dog, who turned 100 (in dog years) this weekend. That was fun to share with friends who didn't know him back then, and there were more fun memories that popped up the more I chatted with the bot.

It's kind of like Facebook's "On this Day" feature, except without the time requirement. Some of what you're going to get is fun, but most of it is kind of crap. Even though you know that, you want to keep going back and looking, and there's a good chance at least one of the four you're given in each batch is going to be a winner.

And the whole point of the bot and app is to try and sell you prints. That said, I don't want prints, and was able to use it with the only plug for buying printed pictures being a link at the bottom of an image suggesting I "Print for Free". It isn't hard to ignore.

You can give Kodak's Facebook bot a try by sending a message to Kodak Moments Assistant. The app is also available for iPhone and Android, although the experience seems to be much better via Facebook than through the mobile app.

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