What: Photo-sharing app Color is a no-fuss free service that automatically sends photos, videos, and text from your iPhone or Android to those nearby with similar equipment and the app loaded.
This deep-pocketed venture launched with fanfare and early thumbs-up reviews. Once techies and the general public took a closer look, however, they sounded alarms about privacy invasion.
The company, headed by Lala.com founder Bill Nguyen, Color's cofounder and CEO, raised $41 million for the product's early-stage development and spent $350,000 to acquire the domain name from its previous owner.
"I can't wait to see what their 2.0 version will be," was how Meghan Kelleher, AE at Access Communications and a member of her agency's social media working group, expressed her view of Color.
How: The app requires no attachments, uploading, or post-production work. And, adds Kelleher, it's easy to use: snap a photo, put it in a stream, and you can rotate the image.
Why: "Color is an open experience," says Peter Pham, president and cofounder of Color. "Think of it as you would Twitter and YouTube."
Who: Fans at the April 17 premiere of Water for Elephants in New York shared images from the red carpet. They heard about its usage there through Twitter, the film's homepage, and word of mouth. Color reports nearly 800 images ex- changed in the four-hour period.
Kelleher says Color could help PR pros gauge customer response to products. But, she notes, the software's openness could mean competitors receive images your team would rather keep to itself.
Ditto for those using it for gatherings in a public space. Readers commenting on Web articles about Color have questioned whether the software could be used by stalkers.
Pham's response: "Like on the Web, users should only post what they're comfortable sharing. Private moments are best captured using the built-in features of your smartphone."