June 23, 2014
Color me stupid but I don't get Color

If you managed to pull yourself from what ever rock you like to hide away in to get away from the endless hype that happens in the tech blogosphere you might have heard of some new mobile photo-sharing sharing service called Color that managed to snag itself $41 million in first round funding.

I'm not even going to go into the whole insanity of any just popped up from stealth startup getting $41 million because that is just mind boggling when you consider Google didn't even get half that much in its funding. What gets me though is the fact that anyone thinks that Colors is worth any amount of the hype it is getting, admittedly both gushing and not so gushing.

For those of you not familiar with what Color is the simple story it that it is a photo sharing app between you and those people around you in any given place that have Color installed on their smartphone. You don't have to know any of the people either as the software will detect another smartphone and share any photos you have taken at that location with those unknown people and will share their's with you.

As Frederic Lardinois at NewsGrange points out this "elastic social network" that lives for the time you and other Color users are in close proximity and shares all photos within that temporary location based social network

Here is what Colors does: Unlike apps like Instagram, picplz or Path, every picture you take is public and there is no option to make it private. More importantly, the app groups together both the photos that were taken at the same location and the people that took them. To do this, the service uses some admittedly smart algorithms that look at where your phone was pointing, the ambient noise around you and other factors to determine that these pictures were indeed taken in the same place. The service then organizes you into an "elastic" social network with all the people around you who took picture at the same place. It basically creates the social network for you as you use the app (and dissolves your "friendships" automatically if you don't take pictures close to each other for a while).
My reaction when I read all that is being written about Color is - why?

Why would I want someone else's; a person I don't know from Adam, images of the same place mixed in with the I have taken pictures?

Why would I want to share my pictures, my memories, my special moments, shared with people I don't know and will never ever see again?

Why is there some stupid assumption that this picture taking of special moments even needs to be socialized beyond the charing that we are doing on our blogs, on Facebook, or on Twitter. At least there we are making a conscious choice of whether our pictures we have taken are available for public consumption.

Color proposes to take that away because as Frederic points out every picture you take is public and instantly sharable to other people around you who have the app installed.

I realize that that the line between private and public is constantly being moved, with a real effort to remove it altogether, but idea is just plain stupid. It's not revolutionary as some would have us believe. It is just another attempt to inundate the web with totally pointless images, except to those who took them.

Thankfully Color has one very large Achilles heel - in order for this idea to work it will require mass, and I mean mass, adoption and I honestly believe, regardless of the over sharing world we live in, that the critical mass Color's will need to justify its stupid $41 million round of funding will never be reached.

Color Demo from Color Labs, Inc. on Vimeo.