The clowd

So, very soon, you will own a cell phone that has a very good camera and knows where you are within ten or fifteen feet. And the web will know who you are and who your friends are.

What happens?

Well, when you take a photo, you can automatically send it to the clowd. The clowd can color correct and adjust the photo based on the million other photos it has seen just like this. [Debbie wonders, isn’t it called a "cloud"? I guess I was subconsciously coining a new term–which I so rarely do–this time, combining crowd and cloud into something new. I think I like it, even if it is a bit artificial].

The clowd can figure out that this was the high school graduation (same time, same location), and realize that you were there with fifty of your closest friends, and automatically group the photos together… leaving out the people it’s obvious you don’t like.

The clowd can also find pictures taken of the same person, but by other people, and show them to you. Or cooler still, introduce you to those people. So, you take a picture of Keith Jarrett at Carnegie Hall and the clowd introduces you to other people who took his picture in ther places. (No, you shouldn’t have to tell the clowd it’s Keith, it should know. But yes, you will opt in to all of this… you ask before it takes these matchmaking liberties).

Wait. Alex suggests that this is the yearbook of the future. What an antiquity the yearbook we all own is. What happens when every student builds her own yearbook all year long? The clowd grabs your pictures, your friends’ pictures, pictures that the group has admired. It grabs the teachers you’ve written about, but leaves out the ones you’ve never interacted with. And everyone gets a different yearbook, of course.

PS your privacy is fairly shot. See a dangerous driver? Send a video snippet to the clowd. The clowd collates that with a bunch of other shots of the same driver… busted.

And the clowd also knows where you are, camera or no camera. So it can tell you when your old friend is just two gates away from you, also wasting time at the airport waiting for her flight. Or it can do Zagats to the ten thousandth power by not only suggesting the best nearby restaurant (based on your food circle of friends) but can also integrate with Open Table and only recommend restaurants that actually have room for you. Or it can let restaurant owners do yield management and find you a table at a good enough restaurant at the best possible price…

[And Dave points out that facial recognition lives in the clowd as well. Take a picture of someone and the clowd tells you who it is…]

This is going to happen. The only question is whether you are one of the people who will make it happen. I guess there’s an even bigger question: will we do it right?