Social media and privacy don't tend to play well together, as we've seen in the past. Sure, there are always privacy settings, but these are usually emphasized as an afterthought. Things are a bit different with Color, however.
No, color doesn't have a strict emphasis on privacy. In fact, it's just the opposite. Color's stance is basically: if you want privacy, use something else.
Color says it collects the name you give them when you set up the app, your email address, pictures, videos, comments, and actions you take through the app (the content), and location info. When a user has the app active, their device sends Color's server their location, and Color shares content with others. "Sharing Content publicly with others from different locations is what this App is about," the company says. " If you find this objectionable, please consider not using our App or Site." (emphasis added)
HERE'S WHAT WE (AND YOU) SHARE WITH OTHERS: We share the name you give us when you set up the App on your Device, your Content, and possibly, the location from which your Content was created. Our App also allows you to share your name and Content on some social media sites. If you choose to use this function, we neither store nor share the information you input to access those sites through our App.
HERE'S WHAT WE COLLECT IF YOU LET US: If you say it's OK, we'll store your mobile number. That way, if you lose or replace your Device, we can re-associate your past activity and Content with your new Device. We won't call you. We also collect information from your Device's address book. We think you might be interested in seeing your friends' Content. By collecting your mobile number and address book information, and linking it to your Device, our software makes the Content you see more relevant to you, and you'll be able to use certain SMS functions we’re cooking up. It also allows you to link your Color experience to your other online social experiences. If you’re not OK with this, just say no and we won’t do it.
As is the case with most privacy sacrifices from social products, it's essentially a trade-off of privacy for user experience.
"In many ways they are inviting the privacy tension, but it is memory about things made public that creates both a level of utility and more significant harm," said SocialText CEO Ross Mayfield in another article we ran. "I wonder how much they have thought it through. Some like LinkedIn did, others died, other blasted through it regardless."
CEO Ben Nguyen's previous company, Lala, was acquired by Apple. I'm guessing there will be a number of potential buyers for Color if the price is right. As John Battelle said in a post about Color, "Note to Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare: If you don't get this feature into your service, pronto, you will more likely than not be rueing the day Color launched."
Color promises to update users as its policy changes. It was last updated earlier this week. Privacy concerns can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.