A new photo sharing app for iPhone and Android is getting a lot of buzz today. It’s called Color, and part of the reason people are paying so much attention is because the company managed to secure $41 million in venture capital without even launching an app. With that kind of funding, the app better be all kinds of awesome — so does it live up to the hype?
At its core, Color is a mobile app that lets you take photos and share them with other people. But while other photo apps let you share photos with Facebook friends, people in your contact list, or other people you know, Color uses GPS to find other users close to you so that you can share your photos with them directly.
On the one hand, this means you can whip out your phone and show your latest photos to the friend you’re having lunch with — without first adding them to a contact list. That also means that you can hang out with a group of friends, take a photo, and quickly and easily share it with all of your friends.
On the other hand, it means that your photos are publicly available to anyone nearby. It’s sort of like photo sharing for extroverts and exhibitionists. People can also leave comments on your photos — making Color into an interesting way to meet people… or stalk them. But Color is clearly designed for interacting primarily with people you know, which is why the app has a 150 foot proximity limit.
Users can also share albums on Facebook and Twitter if they want to send photos to people that aren’t already in the room.
Color has an attractive user interface, with a diary of photos and videos you’ve taken with your phone — and of photos you’ve picked up from other people’s devices. It’s not without its quirks though. I took the Android version for a spin this morning and while there weren’t any other users close to me, I somehow wound up with a photo in my stream (under my username) which I hadn’t taken with my camera.
Overall Color is an interesting concept, but is it compelling enough to make real money for the investors that have been throwing money at it? Who knows? If you’d asked me a few years ago whether a mobile game where you fling birds from catapults would become a runaway hit I probably would have laughed at you.