Evernote and the 100-year data guarantee

There are many many businesses that will store your data online for you, but few that actively address the problems of the digital dark age. While many people fear that incriminating or unflattering photos will live online forever, the opposite problem also lurks – your crucial or sentimentally valuable data can disappear when servers crash, products are discontinued, or companies go out of business.

Evernote is a service that saves users’ text, photos, website URLs, and other data. For anyone relying on the service to archive important information, access is vital. And for someone who’s spent years creating an ‘external brain’ with Evernote, some kind of long-term guarantee might function like a helmet, promising a bit of cushion in case of some sudden shock to the system.

Citing Long Now’s long-term focus as an inspiration, Evernote CEO Phil Libin announced at the recent Le Web London conference that the company will soon set up a protected fund and include a legally binding guaratee that users’ data will be maintained for 100 years, even if the company itself is bought or ceases to be.

It will be a very long time before anyone can determine the success of this effort, but it is an encouraging attempt at substantively grappling with the long-term.

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What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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