stock photo. My boys had even better costumes.

Halloween is a reminder that photo sharing apps are still broken

We got together with friends and trick-or-treated around the neighborhood last night. This morning I awoke to see awesome photos of our two boys… via SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook posts, and email. My wife got a different set of photos from last night as well. That feels totally broken.

I shouldn’t hope to see photos of my kids, or remind/beg my friends to share… I want every photo of my kids taken by anyone I know. The problem is the current generation of photo sharing apps works on a per-photo permission system. What if we changed that?

Facial recognition algorithms in recent years are finally surpassing human abilities. We should be able to trust this data to make better products. An idea I shared recently was using home security cameras and facial recognition to drive network effects in hardware. If my security camera recognizes my son as he enters our home, what if I convince my neighbors to buy the same camera, could I then see him walk all the way home from school?

What’s new here is the creation of a permissions system based on people, not individual photos. The first time you share a photo with me, I want to be able to tap on my son and request permission to all photos you take of him. I’d be totally fine sharing any photo I took, that included your kid, with you. Let’s assume facial tagging isn’t 100% perfect, so maybe it’s just photos above a certain accuracy threshold, but you get the point. Or maybe the day after Halloween, I send a request to the 10 parents that joined us trick-or-treating last night and request photos that include me, my wife, and my boys. Features like these drive incredible network effects... but they’re also simply better product experiences.


Either way, if you take a photo of my kid, I want it. We can do better than the haphazard methods of sharing photos today. I’m sure of that.

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