Color Social Network: A Photo social network that's Post-PC
Color Social Network $41 Million in new funding!
Color.com really made a grand entrance today (3/24/2011). Not only did they just release their app live on Android and Apple iOS yesterday, but today they secured a staggering $41 Million dollar check from Sequoia Capital, in collaboration with Bain Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.
You think you have never head of Sequoia Capital right? Maybe you forgot about another start-up they invested in. Google. And guess what? They invested LESS in that venture than in Color.
So why all the hype? Color CEO Bill Nguyen has a good track record. He co-founded Lala, a cloud-based music service to Apple for $80 Million in 2009.
His vision: To create a social network that is post-PC. It's clear that Color (and their investors) believe in the future of the smart phone. This social network does not exist on a PC - in fact the whole idea only works with a portable device.
The basic idea revolves around sharing photos and videos based off user proximity, calculated by GPS. Users are then connected automatically through Bluetooth. This is a novel concept, but it certainly edges up against that fine line between public and private. It certainly gets my privacy warning signals going.
Color Screen Shot
Might need one of these!
So how does the Color Social Nework Work?
The basic idea is good. If you attend an event, and everyone is taking pictures with their Color App enabled smart phone, Color will instantly start a connection between all users in the GPS tracked proximity. All pictures taken by any user, will be shared with all other users. You can browse and comment on all the pictures taken by other people at the events you attend.
Let's say you are at a concert. Wouldn't it be cool to see all the pictures everyone is taking, from every angle? Maybe you're even in some of the pictures taken by someone you don't know.
While browsing through all the photos, you see the other people who attended the same event. You were all there, at the same time, and same place - so why not strike up a conversation! You can comment on any picture, and browse through that users entire photo diary - from pictures not even taken at the same event. In return, they can do the same to you.
Color believes other forms of social networking do not offer enough opportunities to actually meet people you don't know. In this context, you can view a person's photo diary history leading up to the event you both attended. You can decide if it would be worth continuing the relationship.
In a sense, the service is like Tevo-ing your life. Pictures taken by anyone using Color in the same place as you, are added to your photo diary. In a sense it's like crowd sourcing your life. It's a visual representation of your memories, from photos taken not just by you, but also by other people around you.
The service uses the microphone and light sensors in your smart phone to determine that the photos shared are indeed between people attending the same event. Let's say two bars are right next to each other (so they are within the proximity range). Color would be able to determine which bar you were at based off sound and lighting, ensuring the shared pictures all came from the same location.
There is no need to friend and follow other users. Simply take pictures, and people also using Color within your vicinity will surface, and you will be able to browse their photos, and photo history.
Color creates your personal photo log, which will be transformed into a collective work created by all of those who shared a space with you. What’s more, once a photo taken by another Color user is included in the massive “personal diary” you will accumulate, you can get a glimpse of their lives (and they yours) — by viewing the photo stream of the moments they have captured.
How Color Social Network Operates
Maybe I'll just stick with one of these...
Color Social Networking: The Weird side
So there are some appealing aspects to the idea of easily sharing pictures between everyone at a particular event. Especially a party with friends - I mean that's basically what Facebook is all about.
However, the darker/weirder side of color is the part I don't really like. For example, if you were at a random concert two years back with some guy, you now can look through his whole future and past Photostream. Just because at one time, you stood within 150ft of some random stranger, now they have full access to your photo diary.
Great! I love looking through people's random photos, voyeuristically enjoying their trip to Cancun, and looking through their whole relationship history!
But wait a minute. If I can do that to you, you can do that to me?!
With Color yes. I would love to be a fly on the wall of a Color user who has a log of 10 years of relationships, followed by break-ups, followed by random make-out sessions captured by other people's cameras, followed by new relationships, followed by wedding plans, followed by meeting the parents, followed by the wedding day. Now everyone with there Color phones sits around snapping photos. Before you know it, the nieces and nephews grow bored with the wedding and check their smart phones. Oh, cool, here's the groom from 8 years ago about to marry our aunt. And who the hell is this random girl? And who are these drunk guys in Vegas? Who's Steve and what is going on at his bachelors party? Mommy, what's Scores? What happened to what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?
What are the implications for politicians? How will anybody ever run for office if the Media can track through your ENTIRE life looking for dirt. Or will people just not care?
CEO, Bill Nguyen stated that there are moments in life that are private, and moments that are public. If you want to be private during a particular time, you just don't use the app. That might work for some, but as for me, even sharing too many pictures on Facebook has me worried. So I'm not sure if an App like Color Social Networking will really succeed. Plus it requires everyone to have a smart phone, and to be honest, the App itself won't be fun at all unless LOTS and LOTS of people actually use it.
So what are your thoughts? Would you use a service like Color Social Networking?