When I first heard about Color, the newest, hottest iOS and Android app, I had the same reaction as the first time I heard about Chatroulette: Wow, what a cool idea to be able to randomly video chat with strangers on the fly. Eventually, though, those chats turned up unexpected things, often in the form of lewd images. Also, the live video site screamed invasion of privacy.
Color just launched this week. The tool, which is available in Canada but, alas, is misspelled here, allows you to take photos and share them instantly with people nearby. The company calls it a "moving social network." Let's say you're at a bar and you're snapping pics with Color, you can then see photos from anyone else using the app in your same location.
Sounds like fun, right? CNN is calling it "mobile voyeurism." The reason it fits nicely in this category is that all photos taken in Color are public, so you're inviting strangers into your personal image bank. If you do decide to post an inappropriate photo, that picture is visible to other users wherever you go with your mobile phone.
This new app is generating an enormous amount of buzz, leaving tech bloggers drooling and claiming that Color is the Next Big Thing. Of course there are the skeptics, including John Gruber who calls the download a "Breathlessly Overhyped Piece of Crap."
One of the reasons Color is generating a lot of attention is money. They've received a whopping $41-million (U.S.) in funding, before they even launched. There are also some interesting technological features, such as the app's ability to detect who you're frequently nearby and then prioritize that network's photos in your stream.
If it sounds a little confusing, it is. I downloaded the app on my iPhone, but then I decided quite quickly that I didn't want to allow Color to access my location, making it entirely unusable. We'll see how this app, and its impact, affect smartphone shutterbugs.