A hundred-thousand screams were heard last night, when it was announced that a startup called Color had gotten $41 million in investment money—pre-launch. It has seven founders! It’s a social photography iPhone app! They paid $350,000 for the url “color dot com”! (Which is just a “click-here for the app store!) And it is now live.
Basically, Color finds people around you, and so you can see (and have) everyone’s photos from around you. (Everyone who is also using Color, that is.) The tech sounds wildly impressive! (And high-bandwidth—it samples audio around you to match up devices that are “hearing” the same things? Whoa.) The case can be made quite well that this tech, if not this specific implementation, is huge. Also, it has $41 million in pre-launch funding! That’s a lot of millions to spend on something that has a high chance of becoming the straight version of Grindr. In the right venue, it’ll become nonconsensual Chatroulette on the go! In the best, non-pornographic case, it’s a live, interacting group photo Tumblr.
One thing that seems unexplored: is this the end of copyright? Here’s what Color says about using the app: “I can see photos and videos being taken by all people using Color on their smartphone nearby me. The photos and videos I see here will be mine to keep.” So it’s an app that gives away your personal photos to everyone who happens to be within a hundred yards.