Proposed Update Will Make Color Even Less Useful

Last night, Color, the photo-sharing app with $41 million backing from major Valley VC firms, launched to much hype and an even greater backlash. There is no point in rehashing the discussion about it, but my personal opinion is pretty clear: the app’s concept may do well at conferences and other events (and hence I’m surprised it wasn’t launched at SXSW), but the current user experience is bad and the concept just doesn’t sound appealing to a mainstream audience. Now, however, Color’s CEO Bill Nguyen has told Mashable that “his team has heard the criticism loud and clear, and is moving fast to make changes to the app to fix its biggest problem: that people feel lonely when they use the app all by themselves.”

Here are the proposed changes:

1) if you launch the app “in the middle of nowhere,” the app simply won’t do anything – you’ll be locked out. That solves the problem of people opening the app and not knowing what to do, but it also means that 99% of potential users will face this locked down mode when they first open the app. And guess what they will do: close it and forget about it. The fact that Nguyen thinks that’s a good solution makes me doubt the future of the app even more.

2) Instead of just grouping together photos that were taken in close proximity to each other and linking the people that took it into an “elastic” group, the app will now “dynamically calculate the distance required for somebody to be considered ‘nearby.’” This, of course, waters down the whole concept of the app to the point where it’s nonsensical. If the dynamic network suddenly has a radius of half a mile instead of 150 feet, I will most likely care even less about the people who took the pictures. Sure, this will solve the “loneliness” problem – but at what cost?

The update should hit the app store by the middle of the week. The app currently has a two-star rating in Apple’s store (many users complain about crashes and – as expected – the fact that they can’t figure out what the app is supposed to do).