Pholio gets your photos out of the cloud without ditching cool AI features

Cloud-based services like Google Photos and now even the new Lightroom CC can use artificial intelligence to search through your photos. But what if you don’t want to give the cloud access to all your photos? Pholio is a self-contained computer vision program that can classify, organize and search through photos and video without a cloud connection. Developed by a year-old startup called Pimloc, Pholio is designed to bring AI photo features even with images stored in multiple locations.

Pholio looks much like a modern external hard drive and it serves as one, with the option to save full resolution files as a back-up on the system or the option to save thumbnails for full function of the software but without the backup files. Pholio comes in two different versions, a 500 GB storage option and Pholio Pro with 2TB of storage.

Unlike a typical external hard drive, the Pholio comes with software for indexing photos. The program works much like Google Photos, with the ability to type in a keyword and find photos containing that object, as well as facial recognition to find people and event the ability to find specific landmarks. Unlike Google Photos, however, the entire Pholio system can be offline while still allowing for 20,000 search terms. If users choose to work online, those search terms expand, with the company saying that users can search for “anything.”

Users can also customize searches by adding specific labels within their own content. The feature, the company says, allows users to customize the system to their hobbies, like adding the ability to recognize specific breeds of fish for underwater photographers. If a keyword search turns up an incorrect result, Pholio, like web-based platforms, allows users to mark which results aren’t right for the system to learn from for the next search.

Along with specific searches, Pholio also has a Pinterest-like Discovery option that brings up similar images. Swiping one direction tells the software to show similar images, while swiping the opposite direction asks the system to show something different.

Within videos, Pholio can search frame by frame and suggest the best moment inside that footage.

Pholio, along with storing the actual photos, can also index images across multiple devices, including a smartphone, hard drive or a cloud service like iCloud and Google Photos.

Pholio does not necessarily handle tasks that other programs don’t offer — Google Photos has a similar search and GoPro QuikStories can also find the best moments inside of a video. But, most AI-powered computer recognition systems are so large, they are stored on a cloud system. Pholio runs without or without a cloud connection and can also double as a backup by switching from the default thumbnail saves to the full resolution files.

The London-based startup is taking to Kickstarter to raise the funds to manufacturer and ship Pholio. If funding and manufacturing are successful, early backers could get the Pholio for about $260, or the 2TB Pholio for about $520.

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