Color 101: Where Did It Come From? Do We Want It?

Forget the fact that I just asked whether we want this new photo app called “Color.” We have no choice. It has to work. That’s what $41 million in funding from a few different firms including Sequoia Capital will do to increase air pressure in the Color offices.

Sequoia invested $25 million in Color, which is a lot; they only gave Google $12.5 million. So yea, there’s a lot riding on Color. And many experts say it could be the most innovative software since Google.

Unfortunately, in the world of PR, it’s off to an auspicious start.

SXSW would’ve been a fantabulous place to launch but it didn’t happen. So far, it’s a whole lotta hype and there are a whole lotta questions. Tech reporters have even more interesting questions than I do.

So what is it? Let me quote TechCrunch:

“Say you walk into a restaurant with twenty people in it. You sit down at a table with four friends, and start chatting. Then one of your friends pulls out their phone, fires up Color, and takes a snapshot of you and your buddies.

That photo is now public to anyone within around 100 feet of the place it was taken. So if anyone else in the restaurant fires up Color, they’ll see the photograph listed in a stream alongside other photos that have recently been taken in the vicinity.”

Sounds like it would be fun on New Year’s Eve, a concert, or a major sporting event. Unfortunately, to me, it sounds like stalking and when Gawker agrees then I worry. I like to choose who I share my photos with. I like to take my own pictures and show them to my own friends. If I wanted a ton of people around me to see my photo I’d rent a jumbotron. If I’m mis-reading what this app does, please, do tell. But I don’t think so.

The creator of Color, Bill Nguyen, has a much more “anytown USA” feeling in mind.  “We believe in small towns and their values,” reads a mission statement from the company.  “Knowing your neighbors, barbecues, and local life is more rewarding than the isolation created by virtual worlds and friends online. Creating an open, public service fosters communities instilled with more genuine exchange and sharing.”

Color has been criticized for other reasons too, like not launching at SXSW and for user experience. According to Mashable, even though it only launched last week, a new version is in the works to address those critics.

If you are interested it’s only available on iPhones and Androids. Sorry Blackberry and other smartphones. Not so explosive for $41 million. If you want to learn more there are an abundance of articles to make it, er, black and white.