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Lifelogging is a funny concept, part OCD, part science, interesting, addictive, and above all, informative. Unfortunately, it’s also exponentially labour intensive the more things you want to track.

This the niche that Saga Life logging has planted itself into.

The Saga app sits on your phone, periodically scanning to find out where you are using your WiFi, GPS and network location, and it also hooks into Instagram, Runkeeper, BodyMedia, Withings, Fitbit, Tripit, Twitter and Foursquare if you allow it to. It uses the information it gathers to build up a database of where you go, how long you’re there, and how long and far you travel. To this you can add notes and pictures, or even correct it when it gets it wrong!

After using it for a couple of weeks, I can safely say it does the job, though not always as accurately as I’d like. Sometimes Saga can’t distinguish between travelling and just moving around in the building, I put this down to it using highly inaccurate network location data, but it is easily fixed by merging the events together. Other than that, it does do a pretty solid job of keeping track of where I am, and for how long, and cross referencing them with Foursquare. You do have to tell it where you live, and where you work, as Saga uses publicly available/submitted information from places such as Foursquare to know where shops and businesses are; so unless you already told Foursquare where you live, you have to tell Saga. Good news is though, that if you have tell Saga, Saga doesn’t tell anyone else. It keeps that info only for you, and doesn’t share it around.

The “snaps” feature I find a little redundant. It takes 5 pictures in burst mode with a 5 second gap. There is no option as yet to change this behaviour. Given that Saga integrates with Instagram, I suppose this is a non-issue, except for those like me that don’t have an Instagram account, and no desire to have one.

The “notes” feature is the one that I really appreciate. Saga can follow you as much as it likes, but it can’t tell you what you did. By adding notes to each entry you can build up your own account of what went on where. This makes it one hell of a location aware digital diary, and I love it! I use it to track which jobs I did at work (with the where and the when), what restaurants I’ve been to lately, how often I go shopping at which stores. As much as I love the notes feature, I can’t help but think it could be better if there was Evernote or Google Keep integration to go along with it. Creating notes based on location would be nice, and would serve as a good backup/exporting mechanism for your Saga data.

Along with tracking your activities, Saga also gives you some interesting info graphs. It will show you the top 3 places you visited, and how much time you spent there last week. How much time you spent at home or work, distance travelled and how much time spent travelling, and the number of “unique” places you visited, all in the last week. You also get this information when you check the events in your life-log. When you open an entry for a place you visited, it also shows you dates and duration’s for the other times you visited that location.

Saga is really going to come into its own this summer, when the company behind it, A.R.O., Inc, release the API.  With the API, other apps and services will be able to hook into Saga, and add more information to your life journal, or help analyse the data you have already collected.  Along with new partners and other 3rd party services coming to the system, backup to cloud services is also being worked on, so you can securely upload your data, and sync it around.

The ability to export to your calendar is another feature coming soon and this is one I’m looking forward to, as you will be able to see what did, along side what you intended to do (along with where, when, for how long etc).

Given the features it has, and the features being developed, Saga is a well featured lifelogging app with tons of potential, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Get Saga in the Google Play Store now, and check out their website for more info.

  • Doodledo

    While Saga focusses on location recording (and tapping into your social networks), the AIRS and Storica apps in the Playstore go much further. Recording up to 65 pieces of information (including heartrate through the Zephyr HxM sensor), they allow for comprehensively logging your life, where you were , what you have done, what went on around you – including self-annotations about your day and mood.

    AIRS records while Storica plays the data back in a multimedia-rich way, using a storytelling approach. Storica also uses Google Map v2 for rich fly-over maps of your experiences (with the ability to dive into individual locations and see what happened around).

    It’s so cool. I’ve been using both for more than a year with AIRS allowing for recordings over an entire day (battery life is optimised, although some penalty is paid, e.g., 2% battery life per hour when staying at well-known places, going up to about 3.5 to 4% when moving about).

  • http://www.markgunn.com Mark

    It has a lot of potential, but agree with the observation that it needs some external integration/export capabilities with tools such as Evernote. Right now it’s creating an admittedly elegant blog, but one that is completely locked away, accessible only through their mobile apps. I don’t feel secure in investing time curating something that may or may not exist in a couple of years.