Living Color

25 03 2011

The mantra of the Web 2.0 era is but one word: Share. Everything we do these days is focused on sharing…our status updates and tweets, our likes, our music, our books. And now our pics.

The new photo app Color for iPhone and Android launched this week, taking image sharing to a new level. Sure, we’ve been able to post pics to Facebook forever, and apps like Instagram and Color+ have sharing capabilities, but Color makes sharing happen on the fly. Wherever you are. Without uploading. With your friends. Even among total strangers.

Yep, strangers.

Color is the brain child of Bill Nguyen, founder of LaLa, a music sharing site bought and shuttered by Apple. Afloat with $41 million in seed money (go ahead…say OMG!), Nguyen plans to grow from 30 employees to 100 in the coming months. All this with nary a hint of a revenue plan. Can you say blind faith?

Anyone using the app will be able to see the pics taken by other app-users within a narrow range of proximity (remember, that GPS unit in your phone is always working). Pool party for a bunch of kids and their parents? It’s a snap. Everyone shoot. Everyone shares.

But if you’re at the zoo with your extended family, you’ll be sharing pics with not only them, but everyone else at the zoo. At least while you’re at the zoo.

Because, while the pics are all public, the sharing feature vanishes once everyone goes their separate ways. It truly is a “moving” share-a-thon.

The app is also smart enough to begin to recognize patterns in your interactions, like if you meet certain people on a regular basis and take pics. You will then be linked to them and their pics automatically. The app is also able to determine if a multitude of shots are being taken of the same target, like a concert stage or natural landmark. This conclusion would be used to help determine who is sharing with whom…like those at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

Sure, many folks will be scared off by the prospect of creepers in the vicinity. Users can block others, though, and everyone runs the risk of having their smartphone app shut down if they violate decency. Since every pic is quickly traceable to you and your phone, it behooves everyone to self-police. Still, just knowing that an army of amateur photos is out and about sharing pics should give pause to anyone doing something the least bit questionable.

I must admit that this combined intentional and unintentional sharing leaves me just a bit uncertain about how, when and where I will use this. OK, I have already decided to give it a try (remember, I get paid to teach this stuff). I also know that it is far too easy to do screen captures. While I may technically be temporarily sharing pics with the other folks at the zoo, I must remember that anyone with a modest working knowledge of smartphones could just as easily steal my pic.

To be honest, I am not sure how Nguyen plans to monetize this business, other than by recruiting angel investors, and then possibly selling off (like to Apple again). Apple could leverage this app to the hilt, further enhancing the iPhone/iPod/iPad experience. Since the app does not include any of the hip filters and effects that Instagram and Camera+ boast, this is just straight-up photography with a 5 megapixel camera. In other words, not exactly bleeding edge.

But few thought that LaLa served any good purpose either (except Apple). I loved it dearly, and was sad to see it go (it allowed users to literally upload their entire iTunes library to the LaLa cloud, which could be accessed from anywhere). Nguyen may very well be cooking up his encore.

In the mean time, everyone be on their best behavior. Because you may wind up in someone else’s camera roll. There are some things you may not want to share.

Dr “Say Cheese” Gerlich



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: