SNAPPING pictures and sharing them online is nothing new. But boy, have we come a long way from the early digital cameras and the first camera phones.
With the available tools, our photo-taking habits have also changed. If my Facebook friend list is any sort of barometer, I would say we’ve started evolving away from the cam-whoring pictures, to pictures of a more creative and – dare I say – artistic nature.
I’m willing to bet it’s the evolution and increasing popularity of the smartphone that’s responsible for this change, too, or rather the availability of photo editing apps that allow users to add filters, crop, frame and instantly upload your images to sharing sites.
Instagr.am was the rage a couple of months back. Now, another photo-editing apps is set to take the world by storm, with a new twist to the concept of sharing.
Color (http://color.com), available for iPhones and Androids, allows you to snap pictures and instantly tag your location onto those pictures. However, unlike conventional photo-sharing apps where you get to share your pictures with friends, what’s really interesting about Color is that it will automatically group your pictures with pictures others near you have taken.
So, imagine being at your school or college, and taking pictures with your Color app – not only will you get to see your pictures in the resulting “gallery” but also the pictures other people have taken near your location. This, in my opinion, is ground-breaking.
Color moves the social activity of photography up a notch. You are not just sharing pictures you’ve taken with friends you know, but you’ll get to discover new friends who are also taking pictures around you.
It could also provide opportunities for conversations. Let’s say you took a picture of a meal you had in the cafetaria, and posted it online. You’d also be able to see other Color users’ pictures of the meal, and their comments, like “Ugh!”
If you respond to them because you shared an experience, that could lead to hook-ups. This is why I think Color takes the game up a notch.
What if you’re shy, and not really into meeting new people and swapping pictures? Well, there’s a discovery element to Color. In some of the research on Color that I did, I found that what is most interesting was that if you switched on Color and started taking pictures, you’d get a very nice gallery of pictures from the area you’re in.
I can see this being of great use at an exhibition, where perhaps people are pointing out the interesting exhibits that you should see. Or if you are in a building like the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, where you can access the different angles photographers have taken pictures from.
Right now, though, there’s a problem. As with every app that’s inherently social – and more so with Color since it doesn’t actually make use of Facebook or Twitter to import your contacts over – using Color at this point of time is like a ghost town. I know because I’ve booted up my Color, snapped a couple of pictures, and got my own face staring back at me.
Still, the concept has got me hooked, and I believe this might just be the next sleeper hit in social networking. If anything, it does try to be creative.
So, here’s what you can do. If you own an iPhone or Android device, download Color either from the AppStore, Android Marketplace or at Color.com, and start snapping pictures. Never mind if you don’t see other people’s pictures on your Color app – I’m sure with enough people in Malaysia snapping pictures everywhere, we’ll start to bump into one another’s pictures soon.
That’s the goal. I’d love to be able to bump into pictures Malaysians have taken all over Malaysia, whenever I log onto my Color app.
Want to take it to the next level? Don’t just do it yourself. Get your friends to join in and “Color”ise where you hang out. At least you won’t be the only one in the picture. As for me, I’m taking my Android device for a spin around the city to try and get some Color juice going there. Care to join me?
David Lian is a big fan of new social things. Right now, it’s Color. Follow him for more updates at http://twitter.com/davidlian.