December 5, 2011
Color is getting ready for its close-up. Again. The company, which raised a reported $41 million, only to see its first iOS product fail miserably, has spent the last few months attempting to figure out what to do next. The result, call it Color 2.0, is to replace the Facebook status update, 30 seconds at a time. It was in March that one of the most-publicized iOS apps arrived in the App Store: Color, a location-based photo sharing service. Using the free iPhone/iPod touch app, users would take photos of themselves and of objects around them. Color would then create a hodgepodge of photos taken in the same location, which were then posted at Color.com and within the app. As the Color website said at the time, the entire process happened automatically and without the need for “attaching, uploading, or friending.” Confused? So were other users. The service quickly bombed and with its notoriety at being "the $41 million app," quickly became the Ishtar of the App Store. Eventually, both Color.com and the app were shuttered, joining New Coke as high profile products that didn't work. However, Color is now preparing for its second act, which looks remarkably different than its first go-around. Color – The Second Act With Color for Facebook (the app's new name), the company ditched the idea of creating its own ecosystem to post photos. Instead, Color relies exclusively on Facebook to function, for good or bad, depending on your view of the social networking giant. Don’t have a Facebook account? Color doesn't want your business, at least for the time being. The prerelease app, which I received last week, shows recently posted photos by your Facebook friends, as well as a visual Timeline that lets you view photos you’ve recently uploaded, as well. Yet, the app’s primary function is to record 30-second "visits" for your friends to see. These visits, which could include a clip of your commute to the office to your children opening their presents on Christmas day, are muted. A Color rep told me that eliminating sound helps make the process less difficult. Whether this limitation is good or bad, however, remains to be seen. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it. Finally, as “visits” are recorded, a doorbell sound on the iPhone alerts your other Facebook friends that a new visit has commenced. Missed visits are viewable through the Timeline via the Color app or on Facebook. These videos, in fact, are available to all of your Facebook friends, whether or not your friends are also a Color member. Take a look: Jamie Young is planning to write a thorough review. Still, from what I saw, even during my brief time with Color for Facebook, I believe the concept has promise. Of course, I said the same about Color 1.0 and look where that got me. Updated: The app is now available via iTunes.
Color for Facebook