It’s been a while since we heard about Color, the public photo sharing app that got $40 million from Sequoia Capital before it even launched. But yesterday Betabeat glimpsed a sweatshirted hacker posting a photo to Color from the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon who turned out to be Andre Charoo, an engineer who started working at Color just over a month ago.
Okay, so explain Color to us, we said. We think it’s weird.
Color isn’t going to be photos forever, he explained. They’re creating an elastic social network that connects people based on proximity and then strengthens or weakens that connection based on how they interact. If one person posts a photo at a concert and another person “likes” it, that connection will be strengthened and Color will surface more of their content to each other. If the bond is strong enough, they’ll be friends and can see each other’s updates even when they’re not in the same place, and eventually the app will support text and other media.
The experience is inherently mobile and serendipitous, which is why it’s a different kind of social network, he explained.
He basically admitted that Color blew the launch. “We’re relaunching with a more traditional UI, so people won’t think ‘oh, this is weird,’” he said. They’re planning a more Facebook/Twitter-esque interface with follow buttons and a stream of updates that will feel more familiar to people.
They’re going to partner with events and push hard to get people using the app at concerts, he said.
Color needs to do something different. Their initial launch got huge attention in tech blogs and the mainstream press–this reporter opened the app at a Williamsburg restaurant and found no less than three groups of people, two tables and a server, also playing with it. But besides Mr. Charoo, there was almost no one using the app at TechCrunch Disrupt when we checked yesterday and today.
Why’d he decide to join the company? we asked.
“I’m fascinated by the product,” he said. He also likes the people, and of course the company’s ambitious plans are exciting. “Facebook can’t do this,” he said. “Facebook is too static.”