Social networking gets Color but no privacy

New app for iPhone, Android shares your photos, videos with any other Color users

If you want to share photos and videos and don't care about privacy, there's a new social network just for you.

Color is a free, smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices. The application knows your location and will share your photos with other Color users within 100 feet of your location. It will also show you all of their photos, too.

Think of it as a social network for voyeurs, or a Twitter-like service that uses photos instead of tweets.

"I think the analogy to Twitter applies," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Some people, especially but not exclusively young people, like to share what they see, what they're doing, what they like, and even what they don't like. And they like to see what other people are doing and liking."

Color, the brainchild of Bill Nguyen, who also co-founded music start-up LaLa, has been getting a lot of buzz in the past week. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based fledgling company recently received a $41 million venture-capital investment, then came out with the iPhone app and Wednesday released the Color app for Android.

What has raised some eyebrows over Color is that it lacks any privacy features . Color is about being public and visible to everyone. If someone is using Color and she's near other people using the app, then her photos and videos will be publicly shared.

Every photo and video is public. There is no "friending" or following your family and friends. The app shares your images with any stranger who is near you.

However, Color will determine who your friends are simply by detecting who is generally near you. If two people are using the app near each other, Color will note that and keep track of how often it happens. Hang out together often enough, and Color will put the two of you in a social network. That means Color will show you pictures and video from people around you, as well as from the social network that Color set up for you.

The privacy aspect could be a big deal. Facebook executives, for example, have repeatedly been criticized for not keeping users' information as private as users would like.

The difference with Color, though, is that it makes no pretenses about privacy. Gottheil noted that while Color could be a fun app for people on a college campus, at a concert or some other event, it also could be a useful business tool.

"If this takes off, I guess restaurants in areas with a lot of foot traffic will start taking pictures of their plates," he said. "I know people for whom that would be very effective." Gottheil added it could also work for supermarkets and retail stores.

"If the person is looking at his smartphone instead of your shop window, why not put your picture where he or she is looking," he said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleMobile Apps and ServicessecurityWeb 2.0 and Web Appstwitterprivacy

More about AppleBillFacebookTechnologyTopic

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Sharon Gaudin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place