Parents with young children (or those expecting) may consider creating a scrapbook for their children. Many document important life events, holidays and family gatherings, to give to their son or daughter on their 18th or 21st birthday. Doing this preserves the memories, the trials and the triumphs experienced during their formative years.
However, I doubt that in 1995, many new parents thought that their child’s 18th birthday party would be organized on Facebook, uploaded to Youtube and checked into on Foursquare.
Limetree offers parents the digital solution. You can upload your pictures, videos, sound files or letters to your account. On your child’s birthday (or any other time you select), the limetree is released. Hard copies fade with age; the cloud preserves indefinitely.
A Simplistic Start
Straight after signing up, it’s time to begin “building your legacy”, as the developers put it. A basic upload screen invites you to attach as many photos to your lime tree as possible.
When the photographs are uploaded, Limetree will read their meta data to organise them by time and date of capture. So with minimal effort your lime tree is already chronologically ordered with months and years labelled.
Letters, videos and photos can also be viewed as a slideshow with their attached captions displayed beneath. Furthermore, if you or your child wish, the entire lime tree can be downloaded for local storage or viewing.
Across the top of the screen there are individual upload buttons for photos, videos and recordings. Users can also upload files by drag and drop. I thought this was a neat addition; it makes the process of quickly uploading snaps of your life at regular intervals much easier. They’ll automatically be fitted into your lime tree based on their meta data.
The fourth is a ‘Letter’ option which allows the parent to write a letter to their child. Letters, like the other files, carry the “Moment Date” and can be made visible to the entire family or individually selected members.
Building Your Network
In order to release your lime tree to you family, you’ll need to add them to your account. A spouse can be added (which requires an email address). They can also upload files to the tree.
Children do not require an email address in order to be added to the account, although one must be added at some point in order to release the lime tree to them. You can also share parts or all of your limetree on Twitter or Facebook.
Is Limetree Worth it?
Your first 25 photographs and one minute of video and sound are free. However, that’d make for quite a paltry digital scrapbook. You can upload unlimited amounts of photos, videos or audio files for €30 per annum, or €25 is you buy two years at once (€50).
This is quite a high price point, particularly considering that most customers will likely keep their lime trees for a time period in excess of ten years (€250+). Many readers are likely considering cheaper alternatives such as Dropbox or Google Drive. These services can provide a bare-bones service (storage) for free.
However, Limetree stress the security and longevity of their service; I guess if Dropbox goes under in five years, so too will everything that’s stored on their servers. The automatic release of your Limetree after a period of inactivity (read: in case you die) is another distinguishing feature, yet I suspect it’ll be a hard sell.
Limetree is expensive but it does offer a secure, isolated area to keep family memories. I think it’s only worth using if you plan to use it a lot. You’d need to be uploading family holiday videos and photos every few months for €25 per year to seem justifiable.
My Thoughts on the Service
Not having any kids myself I was a little sceptical about Limetree at first. I mean, surly if you want your kids to see photographs of themselves covered in cake, you’d keep an album like our parents did.
But then, when was the last time I heard of anyone getting a photograph developed? Or framed? Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram all catalogue our lives and many experts tell us that our grandchildren will be able to see what we got up to.
Right now if you upload something to the Internet, it’s there permanently; in one form or another. But, for how long? These experts don’t take into account the personal data privacy laws currently bouncing around the European Commission that’d put a stop to all that. Perhaps the next generation will see sense and stop plastering their entire lives and those of their children’s all over Facebook? What then?
A service like Limetree makes for an awesome middle ground between retro photo albums and super-public social networking. Their motto is, “This is not a social network, this is between you and your child”. Damn. Maybe they’re ahead of the curve on this one.
It’s an expensive Scrapbook but it comes with peace of mind, automatic organisation and some great family-centric features. They’ve also made it easy for Limetree to be given as gift to parents of a newborn.
This is a unique take on online storage that could be really useful to shutterbug parents. At the very least, it’s unlimited file storage for €25 per year.
Limetree is a web app from a small start-up developer. They have created an online legacy storage service that allows parents to quickly upload unlimited amounts of photos and videos of their kids. It's totally private and can be released to children on a specified date.7