Why Color may be the next Twitter

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Color, the new photo sharing app hopes that it will be worth just 140 characters. The concept is simple; it’s a real-time photo sharing app for people in the same location. One example of how this works was at a recent LCD Soundsystem gig in New York. Here, 82 photos were shared by 26 people. The advantage of Color comes from the real-time photo and video sharing. These are not archived on a server, but streamed only to those at the event itself. There are options to share images via Facebook, Twitter, Email and MMS.

I’m often dubious about ‘the next big thing in mobile’ and it seems plenty of people are putting Color in that category. However it appears to have real potential for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s all about location and proximity. There is plenty of evidence to show that when it comes to mobile, location is key. We know that 1/3rd of Google mobile searches have ‘location’ intent. We also know that location-based vouchering on mobile has a much higher redemption rate than those without. And of course there’s Foursquare, Facebook Places, Gowalla, SCVNGR … and many more. Secondly the combination of proximity and lack of archiving has an inbuilt privacy that other social networks fail to offer. There is often an assumption by social media networks that users are happy to share everything, however privacy is a major concern of many people. On the up side, as Color is restricted to friends in a specific location, it’s likely to reduce the annoying over-sharing that is prevalent elsewhere (‘here’s a photo of my lunch’). Thirdly, there is a strong social element due to the proximity, a feature to comment or ‘like’ and image, as well as the facility to share with other social media.

Color works for both large events – I can see it being used at large demonstrations – to small gatherings. There are also real opportunities for brand engagement through the app. The potential is there, but ultimately, technology can never drive consumer adoption. Only consumers can.

More from the people at Color here.

When it comes to location, SCVNGR may have got it right

A while back, I argued that Foursquare is not social media at all, but it’s actually a game. Yes, it has the tools of social media, but when you look at how people interact with it, it’s the gaming element of becoming mayor that keeps users engaged. There’s an interesting interview with (the very geeky) CEO of SCVNGR (what have they got against vowels?) explaining the difference between what they are doing and the Gowalla/Foursquare approach. The key difference is the challenge element and making each check-in different. When you consider that this is actually what keeps the Foursquare users engaged, the it looks like SCVNGR have nailed it.

You can view the interview here:

Facebook places launches in the UK

There seems to be much excitment about the launch of Facebook’s location service in the UK. Twitter is full of it, and most of the social media/digital news sites are mentioning it. And it all seems to be quite positive. There are the continued privacy issues, but it looks like location is catching user’s imagination. The addition of location into Twitter hasn’t caught people’s imagination in the same way. Comments like ‘what’s the point’ shows that it looks like a bit of an after thought on Twitter’s part.

Google Latitude API

First there was FourSquare, then Facebook talked about getting in on the location band wagon. In fact Google were there before with Latitude: in spite of it’s early privacy controversy, I blogged at the time that the significant point about Latitude was when Google offered an API. And now, it appears they have.
Whilst it would seem that Google getting in on the act could kill the likes of FourSquare. Google’s current USP is the live realtime tracking of location (which may help prevent the un-cricket-like remote check-ins on FS). However it is far from a given that Latitude will dominate the location sector. Whilst I think that the Latitude API offers real opportunities, FourSquare are rapidly establishing themselves in the location/checkin market. FourSquare’s biggest issue is some flakey technology which cannot keep up with the rate of members. Most likely to take the FourSquare (Mayor’s) crown is likely to be Facebook. With the introduction of location into their status updates they could well dominate the market. As long as they don’t piss off their members over privacy issues!