Half the fun in taking pictures is sharing, right? Well, Color for iPhone and Android makes sharing all the fun. Except, you don't get to choose who you're sharing with. There's no friending, no following, no privacy—just automatic sharing to the people around you.
What is it?
Color, Free, iPhone and Android. Instead of traditional photo sharing apps like Instagram or Path, Color doesn't let you pick and choose who you show your pictures to. It makes the decision for you based on your location. Wait...what? Yep, Color uses your phone's sensors (GPS, triangulation, accelerometer, even microphone, etc) to finds other Color users who you're in proximity to. Once found, the app will automatically add them to your "elastic network", which means you can see every picture they take from now on (whether you know them or not). Once they bump into other Color users, you can see those people's pictures too. Luckily you can adjust how often people populate your feed.
The app itself is simple but not exactly intuitive. For example, the app has 5 options but only gives 3 icons (two of the icons pull double duty). There's swipes you're not immediately familiar with and icons you've never seen. But it's not hard to get used to! Take 5 minutes of twirling and you'll be okay. Take 15 and you'll master. One thing though: it's very nice to not have to create a user account. Oh, and it's a purrty.
Obviously, you won't be using this app if you don't like strangers stalking your life. But! Color can theoretically be insanely useful. Imagine yourself at a concert, a party, or a gathering of any sort, everyone is using Color and snapping pictures from all different angles. All those photos would be automatically be thrown into the app and technically be yours.
Who's it good for?
People who like to take a lot of pictures. People who like to see other people's pictures. People who aren't private. People who are curious. People who live in concentrated cities that are tech friendly. People who like to see what's going on around them. People who go to tech-savvy events.
Why's it better than alternatives?
Color is one of those few apps that make you step back. Whether that's because you don't quite understand the point or think it's plain amazing is up to you. But it's undeniable that the technology is amazing—it's Social Network 2.0 where concerns of privacy are a non-issue. Pictures are auto-saved to the cloud, friends are auto-added to your network, even friend's friends are your "friends". No one else is really make this sort of leap.
How could it be even better?
Color places an importance on seeing the world around you, with an emphasis on the world and less of an emphasis on you. It makes you focus on the events you go to, the places you see, the pictures of it all, everything but you. Think about that for a second. That's a dramatic shift from what we're used to because taking pictures is generally a selfish act. You want to remember your experience, you want to see how good you look, you want to share with your friends. Selfishness is why we take pictures, why we're emotionally attached to those captured experiences. Color strips that intimacy away because, well, the pictures are no longer yours or necessarily about you. It's a communistic approach to photography.
Not having the option to add friends is silly. What if your best friends are the people you never see anymore? Sure, you can link up to people when you see them but who knows when you'll see them. If there's a redeeming quality about social networks it's that they let people keep in touch. Color, at its core, doesn't worry itself about that.
I don't mind the lack of filters, I rather see the world captured as eyes would but I'm sure others will miss them.
The Android app is crashier than the iPhone app.
But most importantly, in order for Color to be successful, people have to use it. There's no way around it. If people don't, there's no advantage of using this over another app. When I played around with it, the only friend I had on my iPhone was my Android phone. The only friend my Android phone had was my iPhone. The app just came out, so we'll have to wait and see.
We're always looking for cool apps—for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or whatever else—to feature as App of the Day. If you come across one you think we should take a look at, please let us know.
For more apps, check out our weekly app roundups for iPhone, iPad, and Android