Do you ever worry your Flickr photos may vanish? Or wish that you had a better way to browse your old Instagram photos? Or that you could easily jump to a past date and see where you were on Foursquare. Or that Twitter’s archive wasn’t such a miserable wreck and you could actually search your old tweets or, well, do anything useful with your messages that were more than a few days old? Meet Recollect. It’s here to save your social media, in more ways than one, and it’s officially in an open public beta now.
Recollect acts as both an archive to back up your tweets, photos, and check-ins, and as a discovery engine that puts a pretty Web-facing skin on your social media services that’s both searchable and browsable by date. Right now, it works with Flickr, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter, but the company says it has plans to add more services. Facebook, for example, is on its list of future services.
Recollect came from the founders’ vision that although we’re sharing so much as it happens, the things we post online tend to be ephemeral and largely vanish after a few days. ”We’re all sharing more now than anyone ever did in the past,” founder Chris Martin told Wired. “But for most of the services we use to share, the primary use is real time. But you’re telling your story, and we hope that Recollect can become a place where you can go back and revisit that story and all that content you created.”
Recollect works like this: Sign up for one of its (paid) plans and authorize it with your various services, and it imports all of your posts (or, in Twitter’s case, the most recent 3,200, the limit set by Twitter’s API), as well as the associated social data, such as comments and likes. After you set things up, Recollect continually collects your new tweets, photos and check-ins–as well as comments and interactions–and rescans your older posts. So if someone comments on one of your photos a few weeks after you posted it, Recollect will grab that, too. It’s built to take advantage of push APIs when possible, but it also has a nightly job that runs and checks for updates. It also lets you download all that data into a zip file to your hard drive.
My company, Recollect, is going into public beta today. Mat Honan at Wired did an amazing write-up.