I spent 20 minutes at lunch playing with a cool new iPhone app called Color, which automatically shares photos you've taken on your phone with other people who are close by. What's the point of this? Why can't you just show your phone to the person sitting next to you? Why do I need to look at pictures of the very room I'm standing in?
I don't know. And neither does anyone else, it seems. "It's difficult to explain what Color does with a bullet list of features," admits TechCrunch writer Jason Kincaid, who spends over 1000 words on the task. It's generally not a good sign when it takes that long to describe a company's value proposition, but Kinkaid tries gamly.
Nguyen [Color's founder] has visions of fundamentally changing some aspects of social interaction and local discovery with the app, which he considers part of the so-called Post-PC movement. Using all of the data being collected (remember, the app is taking advantage of all of your phone's sensors), Color hopes to eventually start recommending nearby points of interest, and maybe even interesting people.
Got it? Now here's the kicker. This brand new product with no revenue stream has already raised $41 million from some of the biggest names in venture capital. The apparent disconnect has people calling a "bubble," which seems fair given the amount of money that's going into an unproven company.
On the other hand, Twitter seemed even more useless when it launched five years ago, albeit with a lot less money than Color has.
For those who've downloaded the free app (who needs to charge money when you have $41 million in the bank?) and have had a chance to use it: What do you think? What's the business here?