My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Color Social Network & Valpak Virtual Coupons - Augmented View's True Colours

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Color Social Network & Valpak Virtual Coupons - Augmented View's True Colours

Be Still, Sad Heart! And cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the Sun still shining.

Longfellow, The Rainy Day

Nothing gets me more excited than when a new product of Silicon Valley start-up blossoms into existence. Even when my blog article about it is several days late, as I like the excitement to die down a bit so I can get my bearing straight and not be as giddy as my American cousins, who are prone to gush over new technologies.

Sometimes it is a rehash of another service by an established start-up, touting itself as being a better delivery of a well-known product. Facebook Places easily comes to mind, a leaf being taken from Google Latitude.

But there are times when it is so new, that it excites the imagination in a way that would make investors plunk down US$41 million in VC (Venture Capital) money.

With no defined business strategy. No Business plan. Just an idea, Inception (2010) style.

Such is the interesting and quirky story of the launch of the photo sharing App called Color on Thursday March 24th 2011 as stated in the article “New Color App promotes mobile voyeurism”, published March 23, 2011 By John D. Sutter, CNN and the article “'Color' App takes your photos public, shows users in 150-foot radius”, published March 24, 2011 at 01:00 PM by Thomas Houston,

We bloggers call these kinds of stories Blogger Gold, oweing to the fact that that once published on your blog, it attracts traffic with little effort. Neat-o.

Even the name is strange, as it is plain. The Start-up is headed by the equally plain President and co-founder Peter Pham and Bill Nguyen of fame. That fact alone must ring a bell and give you some clue as to this service’s Cloud-based origins.

This as Apple Inc had purchase in 2009 as stated in the articles “Apple buys Lala, entering the streaming music business”, published August 12 2009 12:06 AM, USA Today and the article What Apple's Lala Acquisition may Mean for iTunes”, published December 5, 2009 1:26 PM By Paul Suarez, PC World.

This is basically a Proximity Geo-Location Augmented Reality Photo Sharing Social Network, setting it apart from Instagram, PicPiz and any other Photo sharing App, inclusive of Picassa and Flickr for your smartphone, by adding the element of location.

Thus is displayed the power of imagination, as one only needs to do a series of gedanken experiments plus a few online reviews to get the gist of what is all the excitement about – and hence the US$41 million start-up bonus question.

This Proximity Geo-Location Augmented Reality Photo Sharing Social Network (quite a mouthful! Bite. Chew. Swallow!), as the name suggests, aside from being my coinage to describe its functionality, is also an apt description of how it can be monetized: Geo-Location based advertising.

Akin to its photo sharing cousins, it differentiates itself by virtue of the fact that no login or friends list is required and location is incorporated. Rather, its functionality is based on a commonly known habit among homo sapiens to share their photos when close to each other, usually photos of their children.

Thus the Sharing Zone, as I like to call it,  is set at one hundred and fifty foot (150 ft) radius about the person, a threshold which once breached, will flood you Color App with a montage of photos taken by the smartphone nearest you running said App.

That said, it takes sharing to another level, allowing Color App users nearby to share albums stored on the Palo Alto, California Company’s servers. Nothing new there, as the Color App merely bypasses the security of email for login and cumbersome passwords by using the smartphone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is unique to each smartrphone running Google Android.

Apple, which is yet to get the Color App, would use the UDID (Unique Data Item Description). With such a unique built in system of identification tied to the users name, the potential for Geo-Location based advertising is what has the VC’s all so hot and bothered to place their US$41 million dollar bet on this as-yet confirmed horse.

Hurdles in its ease of use and attraction and staying power as stated in the article “Color me curious: Five thoughts on the new App”, published March 25, 2011 1:12 PM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, The Social - CNET News, have to be overcome, as its usage is not as intuitive, despite the non-requirement of a password and login.

Personally, it reminds me of my original idea proffered back when I worked at C&W and described in a series of articles called Brown Dawg. This is the concept of a Geo-Location Mobile Social Network many readers may recall I had mentioned after being annoyed by a telemarketer from Telecom Provider LIME as my blog article entitled “RIM, Telecom Providers and the Rise of Mobile Commerce - Free Willy Blackberry” describes.

I also sent Digicel Marketing Manager, Donovan Whyte, a copy of my Brown Dawg idea for a Geo-Location-based Mobile Social Network, but no response thus far.

Thus this Proximity Geo-Location Augmented Reality Photo Sharing Social Network is really a type of Mobile Social Network, as my series of ideas detailed in my blog articles entitled “Brown Dawg, a Mobile Social Network based on Mobile phones”, “Brown Dawg and A So di Ting Set - An API tool for User preferences and avoid backlash”, “Brown Dawg and I Spy Rewards - Geo-Location Rewards System for Mobile Social Networking” and “Brown Dawg and Se'et Deh - Behavioral Targeted Marketing Ads” are based on proximity to a business place in order to derived Targeted Advertising.

But what really makes me stand up and cheer (or groan) is that this may be the first App to feature a concept made famous here in Jamaica by my friend from Glenmuir High School, Takesha Henry. This annoying female friend of mine had a habit of bothering me incessantly to the point of pleasure in making my life miserable in Sixth form A’ Level Chemistry Class (1995 to 1997). To this day I do not know why, as we had nothing in common, save that we both did Physics.

But it is her other habit that annoyed me the most. An ardent computer and physics geek back then (tight pants, fast walking, pencils and pens in my top pocket, pimples, heavy books, etc), Takesha Henry made a mockery of my Mathematics Computer project Bluefox, roughly around the same time IBM Deep Blue beat Russian Chess champion and Chess Grandmaster, Garry Kasparov back in 1997 as stated in my Geezam blog entitled “IBM and the Watson”.

Her annoying habit?

While talking to you, which she did very fast, when she would spin about to pester yet another innocent male, she would turn to me and say, quote “stick a pin” and then, actually do it!

As in, she would figuratively pluck said pin out of the air and with the other hand, grab an imaginary Post-It note and stick it up in the air, right in front of me!

But here is where it gets spooky.

Later on, when she would bump into me (though I suspect it WAS intentional!!), she would reach over to the EXACT same spot she last spoke to me about something and pluck said proverbial pin out of the air and restart the conversation EXACTLY where she had trailed off.

Jesus Christ!

Every time she did it, it spooked me out. She would stand in the exact same spot, even positioning me so that I was in the same position and restart said conversation.

Well, this Color App has a similar feature. Pictures that are taken in a particular location are Geo-Tagged at the time of taking the pictures and are also shared along with those within proximity running the Color App.

But like my creepy friend from Glenmuir High School, when other people saunter within a one hundred and fifty foot (150 ft) radius of the spot where the person took those photos, you get to share them all over again.

I am now beginning to understand the giddiness of John Batelle, who points out the obvious power of Geo-Location information being able to pin pictures permanently to allocation “forever” as stated in the article “Why Color Matters: Augmented Reality and Nuanced Social Graphs may finally come of Age”, published March 23, 2011 BY JOHN BATTELLE, John Batelle's SearchBlog.

It is as if each picture take has not only an angular orientation, lighting and time stamp, but Geo-Location information as well. Google Latitude and other Apps already geo-tags photos when taken. This, however, is the first App I have ever heard of that allows public access based on Geo-Location “Color: More than just another Photo-sharing App”, published March 28, 2011, 12:00pm PT by David Card, GigaOM.

Stuck in place, as if with one of Takesha Henry’s Pins

Augmented View or AV, the Color App’s other trick pony, is still in its infancy as stated in the article “Augmented reality edges closer to mainstream”, published June 3, 2010 2:17 PM PDT by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Gaming and Culture.

However, since 2009 Apps such as Yelp and Google Goggles and the App Monocle that created a shake heard around the world as stated in the article “Augmented Reality goes mobile”, published November 3, 2009, 12:44AM EST by Rachael King, BusinesWeek - AUGMENTED REALITY and the article “Augmented Viewing: its' like real life, but better”, published Sunday 21 March 2010 by Charles Arthur, The Observer, The Guardian Newspaper, AV is on the move!

I even pointed out how Apple could incorporate it into the Apple iPhone as stated in my blog articles entitled “Apple and Augmented View - The Future is Now”. Another article of mine highlighted how Augmented View could be used to deliver advertising based on Geo-Location as stated in the my blog articles entitled “Google AI and Broadcasting - Minority Report”.

Again, great way to serve up Geo-Location based ads and even Augmented View Ads, such as the virtual coupons from Valpak as stated in the article “ValPak rolls out Augmented Reality Coupons”, published March 29 2011, by Todd Wasserman, Mashable

Best of all, because it is so public, it has the potential to attract a legion of followers who dislike the formality of friends list and logins and who like taking pictures of themselves to say they were here and making friends with like minded souls. Albeit this can get cluttered if the site is a popular location to visit and take photos!

Looks like FaceBook has competition in the Geo-Location space other than FourSquare. It may only be a matter of time, when this company gets its Business Plan together, that we may see its True Colours, Cindi Lauper Style!

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