Marissa Mayer’s startup just rolled out apps for group photo sharing and event planning, and the internet isn’t sure what to think

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When Marissa Mayer co-founded a startup six years agone successful Palo Alto, Ca., expectations were entity precocious for nan erstwhile Yahoo CEO and early Google employee. When that startup, Sunshine, revealed that its first app centered astir subscription package for interaction management, group wondered if thing much eager mightiness beryllium astir nan corner. Today, aft Sunshine released 2 arsenic mundane features – arena organizing and photograph sharing – net commenters were decidedly underwhelmed.

I was besides baffled past week, erstwhile Mayer walked maine done Sunshine’s caller offerings. Though location are AI components to each that Sunshine offers, it’s difficult to understand really Sunshine’s caller photograph app enhances photograph sharing arsenic it exists today, and nan aforesaid could beryllium said of its caller events app, which looks very overmuch for illustration thing that was designed 20 years agone and, for illustration different apps, encourages users to stock photos tied to events organized connected nan platform. (The photos are hosted connected Shine’s servers and “available indefinitely,” said Mayer, adding that users tin stock albums and nonstop invites easy done text, iMessage, email and different connection and sharing platforms.)

It’s tempting to disregard nan 15-person outfit arsenic retired of touch. But Mayer whitethorn beryllium onto thing pinch Sunshine, and that’s nostalgia. While astir Silicon Valley startups attraction connected nan newest caller thing, America is getting older, arsenic nan U.S. Census Bureau declared past year. Mayer says Sunshine is tackling problems for group “of each ages,” but targeting a somewhat older demographic that gravitates toward nan acquainted and distant from overly analyzable products would beryllium a smart move. Older Americans now relationship for a grounds stock of spending. They person nan clip to socialize and return pictures. Sunshine’s interface is moreover steeped successful nan aforesaid purple hue that was agelong associated pinch Yahoo, which she famously led for 5 years opening successful 2012.

Asked if nan creation prime was intentional, Mayer seemed amazed for a moment, calling it “purely coincidental.”

Mayer sees nan request for thing simpler, certainly. “There are a batch of companies that attraction connected that bleeding and starring separator of AI,” she said. “But we deliberation there’s a batch of things that tin beryllium done pinch AI that conscionable thief pinch mundane problems, things that we each acquisition each day, and are often overlooked.”

She mentioned, for example, that earlier launching events and photograph sharing, that Sunshine  rolled retired a day app arsenic “kind of an adjacent area to addresses and contacts.”

She declined to talk customer numbers, but nan move is reminiscent an app tally by entrepreneurs Michael and Xochi Birch called BirthdayAlarm.com. The day reminder and e-card tract is not precisely creation forward, but pinch much than 50 cardinal registered members astatine 1 point, it has made nan mates — who earlier sold a societal media institution to AOL for $850 cardinal successful cash — galore millions much dollars.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mayer is friends pinch Birch and says she was “definitely influenced by Michael. He talked astir nan truth that [BirthdayAlarm] was a very elemental app and sewage a batch of traction early on.”

Sunshine seemingly didn’t spot that benignant of traction from its contacts guidance offering. But possibly nan “fundamentally broken” enactment of free-for-now photograph sharing and arena readying will alteration nan crippled for Sunshine, which raised a $20 cardinal round successful 2020 but is mostly self-funded, per Mayer.

Either way, Mayer has different tricks up her sleeve, including, eventually, video sharing. “We ever knew we’d beryllium a portfolio company,” she said past week. “The halfway thesis has ever been to return nan mundane and make it magical.”

The squad “thought astir naming it Mundane AI,” she continued. “I sometimes deliberation that mightiness person been a amended name.”

Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Yahoo.