SocialSafe, the social media back-up startup co-founded by serial entrepreneur and angel investor Julian Ranger, has added a further $1 million in funding to its coffers, bringing the total raised by the UK company to around $1.855m since it was founded in 2009. In what is being described as a second “interim” round, the additional funding comes from existing backers Marco Sodi and others, along with a number of investors from the UK-based group Knight Ventures.
But, perhaps more interesting is that veteran Microsoft Researcher Gordon Bell also joins as an investor and advisor. Amongst many other achievements in the early computer industry, Bell is known for his pioneering work in ‘Lifelogging‘ — the act of automatically digitising and making searchable all data related to your life — and has co-authored the book “Total Recall” (or “Your Life Uploaded”) based on his research. And while SocialSafe’s plans are almost certainly nothing quite on the same scale as Bell’s vision, his involvement reaffirms where the startup’s product is heading.
As it stands today, SocialSafe consists of a Mac/Windows app that lets users download and back up their content from various social media accounts, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, RSS and Viadeo. Crucially, the resulting archive is then searchable and can be browsed via a handy calendar view. Insights are also provided to surface things like who you most interact with etc.
Backups are stored locally-only, on a user’s own PC, giving a privacy-boost but also leaving it to users to do their own cloud back-up if they choose to. The company has long talked up a future feature that will make it possible to sync the app with popular cloud back-up services, while reminding us that running its own social media back-up service in the cloud would, technically, break many social media services’ Terms of Service.
To that end, SocialSafe says it will use the new funding to release a mobile app to bring the service to smartphones and tablets. In addition, it will finally add what it’s calling “Device Independence”, the much talked about “personal Cloud” support, which will enable a user’s SocialSafe library of personal data to be stored on the likes of SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive etc., thus accessible from any device that runs the app. Another planned feature — “Collections” — will allow selective grouping of content across all networks, akin to creating a photo book. Export to PDF is also planned.
Cue a statement from the ‘Lifelogging’ pioneer himself: “Simply being able to backup and search across all your social content at once is incredibly powerful and essential for everything from record keeping to lifelogging,” says Bell, “but when Julian showed me the other features of SocialSafe and told me about his plans for future development, it was clear that SocialSafe had created an essential technology and product roadmap for life logging — and I had to be a part of this just to help move it along faster.”
Can we say Total Social Media Recall?
Finally, I gather that Ranger has been spending quite a bit of time in the U.S. lately, possibly regarding partnerships and a bigger push States-side. Of course, with Backify shuttering its consumer-facing Twitter backup tool, SocialSafe has already positioned itself to benefit. I’m also hearing that Backify will end of life its consumer Facebook option as early as today, giving SocialSafe another opportunity to pick up some of the slack.