Last night’s launch of Color is certainly getting a ton of press. They have a great team, a ton of cash and an interesting app – at least on paper. Having tried to use it a few times in the day as well as last night, I’m not sure I’m really going to care all that much.
The purpose of Color seems to be enabling social through the intention of proximity. In other words, you are able to share because you are close to someone else. You might not (and probably don’t) know these people but because you are nearby you can gain a new and shared perspective. I think that’s a pretty cool idea. What I would really like to see however, is the inclusion of my existing social network so that I can also get a prioritized and shared view with people I already have a real interaction with — even if these are just digital buddies. I love social discovery, but not at the exclusion of my existing base.
I transitioned from Instagram to Picplz and much like my journey from twitter to jaiku (and back to twiiter). I engaged with a community of people with shared interests. In many cases these interests actually came from using the services. Picplz and instagram are really quite similar. They are both simple, let you have fun with your photos and make it very easy to share externally as well. What I also like about both is that I can use an existing picture and then push it out which means I have the original locally to my device – and in the case of picplz also backed up on dropbox. Color forces me to snap a new picture of myself as an ID and then continues to “force” me to snap a new picture if I want to share. Perhaps part of this is due to the focus on that shared perspective of a location (the context of the social to begin with), but it forces a very strict type of sharing.
Color comes with no instructions and initially the UI while completely fresh, is far from easy to use. There don’t seem to be any guidelines with how things are used or shared and that actually bothers me. Because it’s far from self-evident, I find a level of discomfort here and that’s not good. Also, because Color is complex not actually that fun. When I installed it a second time on my Nexus S I had to start over. My presence from the iPhone was in no way transferable … in fact it seems as though you are essentially disposable. Without a way to associate yourself to your content or contacts, you just float through.
I shared the hype of Color last night with some co-workers and quite a few people actively played with it today around the office so it’s easy to see how a collection of people and images starts to work. I’m just not sure it’s actually for me.
I usually get a good feel quickly and Color is making me work too hard to use it.