The future of photo albums – How to curate memories when your life is in the cloud


As we increasingly carry out our lives online through social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and more, all of our most best moments, our photos and interactions are shared in the cloud.

A recent survey by Samsung has found in the UK alone, 749 photos are shot and shared every 60 seconds, equivalent to 1.1 million a day.  Some 328 million photos are shared online every month, with 1 in 5 photos shot purely with the intention to share.

Now with Instagram launching new video functionality, we have even more online content.

People love the instant connection and interaction between friends and/or strangers; we are social beings and technology allows us to connect and share all around the world.

But what happens to all these interactions when we want to find them again? And what if they get lost?

When we grow older, how do we rediscover our treasured memories from the past?

How do we pass our stories onto our children and grandchildren?



Photo by Shahram Sharif

The issue of preserving online social media content is raising concern amongst genealogy experts and archivists who deal with family memories.

Research Genealogist James Tanner has commented the long term storage and viability questions are the most problematic.

“The obvious issue is the permanency of the record and collecting all of the scattered communications into a coherent family history. I observe that many of the participants in social media have no other more permanent communications and the present online users of these services could potentially become a “lost generation” as far as personal information is concerned. Can commercial providers make the long term commitments and assurances that the information in their files will be preserved for fifty or hundred years or more?”

In a publicly published letter and comments, Archivist Susan D’Entremont warns that people must be proactive in preserving digital materials to make them last.

“Contrary to popular opinion, digital records are more fragile and difficult to preserve than traditional print records. If you want your kids to be able to view the photos when they grow up, you need to consciously take steps to preserve them, including… making sure that you save copies of photos you want to keep long-term somewhere other than proprietary web sites like Facebook and Flickr.”

This issue will likely affect the current young generation, with 13 per cent of participants aged 18 to 24 having never used a photo album. Samsung has claimed that online sharing is resulting in ‘the death of the photo album‘. (Interesting given they recently partnered with a competitor photo album creator for their Galaxy S4 – have they lost faith?)

In some aspects though, they are right. With so much online content, traditional scrapbooks and albums like the ones our parents kept will be insufficient in the future. Few people have the time and patience to print and collate individual photos.

Yet the emotional desire to preserve our photos for the future remains paramount. It is now time to look at new ways of collating our memories.




Our lives are shared on-line in different formats and with different people, and all our best moments are spread everywhere on social networks. There is no easy way to rediscover them together. No way to bring them easily offline. No way to be sure they will be there forever.

PastBook is addressing these issues to create the photobook of the future.

Our goal is to let people easily rediscover their memories with the possibility to quickly curate them, both online and offline.

The future photobook is not just an aggregation of pictures: it includes the interactions that happened online around that photo and become part of the memory itself, creating a more vivid experience. Comments, ‘likes’ and dates are all included automatically.

The future photobook can be created by multiple users, each contributing their best moments to tell a common story.

The future photobook can be shared and viewed online, stored digitally as a free PDF or printed as a tangible object to hold in your hands or to give as a gift to a loved one.

Best of all, the future photobook is fast and convenient; taking just 30 seconds of your busy life to create, and accessible through all mobile devices.

It is not just creating a photobook anymore, it’s wider; it is about creating stories, in seconds, out of the thousands of photos and interactions we create every day. And PastBook is a step forward in doing that for you.

Because your memories are worth keeping safe.













Photo by @thom_21



Preserve your memories and tell your story now at


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