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GreatAlbum is the result of an itch that I have been trying to scratch for over 20 years. Going back to the 1990s, I started taking a keen interest in the combination of genealogy - connecting the dots between family members - and family photography - capturing moments in people's lives. While researching family history, I began to discover personal notes and even memoires of ancestors telling stories about their experiences growing up, sometimes with old accompanying photographs.

I was recently talking with another founder in the Pioneer community. He was questioning the viability of GreatAlbum and pointed me to the 2015 article Why every photo storage startup dies or gets acquired. Even though this article is six years old (a lifetime in high tech startup land), the situation is remarkably unchanged since then:

Apple’s Photo Stream is all but incomprehensible to me. Google’s photo product, while very good, is buried inside Google+. Amazon’s photo storage service, tied to Prime, is just getting started. Facebook’s service is designed more for sharing photos than for organizing them. Dropbox’s Carousel seems to exist for the sole purpose of helping people consume their Dropbox storage.

No wonder people keep building superior services: it’s impossible to store your photos with Apple, or Google, or Amazon, and not imagine you could do it better. And the need grows larger every day. Last year, trend forecaster Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins estimated that we upload 1.8 billion photos to the internet a day, up from 500 million the year before.

With this in mind, GreatAlbum aims not to compete with photo storage services (Apple, Google, Amazon, Flickr) or social media services (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Instead, our goal is to provide a value-added service on top of them. GreatAlbum assumes that you want to keep your photos in one of the major photo sharing services, where you have more trust in their future preservation. It imports the "metadata" from those photos (date, location, descriptions, etc.) and helps you organize them in ways that make it much easier to browse, share and enjoy your photos and videos. Two of the most common ways we envision this to happen are:

1. In an existing Album, for an event you are documenting, members can link their remote photos from Apple/Amazon/Google/etc. to a common structure of Event, with tagged Individuals and Place, and even write their own stories about how they experienced the event. 

2. You can authorize GreatAlbum to import hundreds or thousands of photos into a private album. GreatAlbum will then go through them all, look for patterns based on date, location and faces. It will then auto-create events, based on those patterns (such as 10 or more photos on a given date and location), and tag date, location and individuals who were present. You can then review/refine those events and share them, with their related media/content, in other albums where they belong, with specific memberships for their common interests.