Carter Maslan used to be a director of product management at Google focused on local. When his team launched Street View in 2007, they did a bunch of usability tests, where people would come in to use the product, and would often check out what their own houses looked like.
And almost without fail, someone would ask, “Why isn’t my car parked at my house where I left it?!” For some reason, the natural assumption was that this was a real-time live video feed, not a picture taken by a Google car driving by, perhaps months before.
When Maslan left Google two years ago, that memory stayed with him. What if the whole world were recorded in real time, so it could be searchable? Google knows when the text on a Web page changes — why couldn’t that same kind of crawling and indexing be done for video?
It’s an insane idea, and one that turns dystopian pretty quickly. But Maslan thinks he has figured out a way to get at his original idea that is smart enough and useful for people on a private, personal basis. His new product, CamioCam, notifies users only when something interesting happens on a live video feed.
The way you use CamioCam is to hook up a webcam (or just turn a laptop camera on) via Chrome or Firefox, or use an Android phone. Set it up in a stationary spot. Leave the app running. And then CamioCam will figure out when something happens, and let you know via a link to a video snippet.
Though you leave CamioCam on all the time, it uploads only when something happens. I haven’t tried this myself, but Maslan said you can query CamioCam with terms like “outdoor blue Monday” to search for times the mailman entered the field of the front-yard camera since the start of the week.
Maslan said he thinks his seven-person team’s technology is smart enough that it will have 98 percent fewer false positives than regular IP cameras. And versus even a reasonably sophisticated Webcam like Dropcam, Maslan said CamioCam’s advantage is that it uses 90 percent less bandwidth because it’s not constantly streaming, and it’s open to any sort of camera.
One live camera set up with CamioCam is free, and additional cameras cost $9.90 per month. If you have multiple cameras in the same place, CamioCam will stitch them together to create an aggregate view.
The service retains an encrypted 30-day rolling history, which on average consists of about three hours of video that have motion in them, for every 24-hour day recorded.
CamioCam has raised $1.6 million in seed funding led by Freestyle Capital, with Greylock Capital, Floodgate Fund and Box Group along with Maslan’s former Google teammates Marissa Mayer, Brian McClendon and John Henke.
“In the grandiose vision, we think this could be a Google for a real world,” Maslan said, “It could be ranging from when were elephants at a watering hole in Kenya, or when were the last five mail deliveries at your house.”