Turn Grandma's memories into a podcast with the Saga app
Record your relatives while in quarantine, even if they aren't tech-savvy.
Shelby BrownEditor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
The stories of the past that my grandparents told me as a child now give me comfort when I miss my grandparents as an adult. Sure, the questions I would've asked them today are far different than the ones my 8-year-old self did. But after you lose a loved one, anything and everything she or he told you is precious.
The new Saga audio app is a way for families to record and save the life stories of loved ones. The app, released generally Tuesday, sends weekly prompts to the people you choose, asking a question like "How did you meet grandpa?" or "What was your journey to America like?" From there, the family member records answers by dialing a special phone number. The stories are automatically shared with you and your family on the app, regardless of location. The best part? No smartphone needed.
If your relatives don't have the app, or a smartphone, they can call the unique private number on a landline. It works like leaving a long voicemail. Your relatives will hear a brief welcome message that explains how the recording process works, and then the recording session will begin after a beep. Once your relatives finish recording, they can just hang up. The recording saves to your family's account.
Amelia Lin, the co-founder and CEO of Saga, created the app for her own parents. Lin wanted a fun and easy way to save the stories her parents told her and her sister about growing up in China.
"Voice is so incredibly powerful. It's so emotional and human and real," Lin told CNET. "We live in this new world where podcasting has made it totally normal for us to spend hours each day listening to the voices of strangers from our phones. How much more powerful would that be if you were listening to the voice of someone you know and love?"
Amid the turbulent times of the coronavirus pandemic,Saga can be a way for separated, locked down families to maintain intimacy, Lin said.
"We're all looking for a sense of connection, especially with the people we care about and love most," she said. "This is an opportunity to turn a difficult time into one that brings us closer instead, in a meaningful way."
Saga is offering one month free to the first 100,000 sign-ups before May 31, with unlimited invites and storage. Otherwise, the app charges $99 for a year of access.
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