Foursquare, the location-based check-in app, has added a feature after an internal weekend hackathon that will bring some context to your historical check-ins. Now, when users look back at their check-ins, they won't see only their pictures, but also pictures taken by friends who were also checked in at the event?
Sound familiar? Color offers a similar experience to its users, but Foursquare should have an easier time convincing its users to take pictures than Color could have convincing Foursquare users to become Color users too.
What would this feature look like? The company describes it on its blog:
Until now we'd never combined the 'what you were doing' and 'who you were with'; it was hard to get back to all of the photos your friends took at an event. So how to remember that restaurant when your distressingly flash-less iPhone 3GS couldn't take a picture in the dim light, or the critical moment during the birthday party when your baby nephew put his pants on his head? [...] It works wonderfully for parties, elaborate brunches, and things like concerts. More context and photos for your memories. And, when your friends look at the same screen, they see their mutual friends who were there with you, and those people's photos, too. Everything in one place.
Color offers a similar experience, but takes a different approach at connections. Rather than relying on explicit connections - i.e. the "friendship" model popular with social networks - it looks at proximity of users and tries to create "elastic social networks." That is, rather than having users identify friends as permanent connections, Color infers social connections through proximity. The more you take pictures near someone, the closer the bond. Foursquare sticks with the standard "yes, that's my friend" method. This means that Color could potentially get more photos, that Foursquare wouldn't get, but would they be relevant? Perhaps.
Facebook recently added a check-in feature to its mobile app as well. Were it to combine a simple method for quickly sharing mobile photos around an event check-in, it could easily compete in this space as well. With Facebook's popularity as a central location for photo sharing and event organization between friends, it could likely step in and takeover as the place for this sort of collaborative, photographic memory creation...but we like it as a feature on Foursquare as well.
As for Color, it certainly seems like the app is built on some interesting technology, but we're not so sure they can convince enough people to use it to make it interesting, quite yet. Then again, if people start to see that they can experience amazing photos that they would have missed out with by using an app with explicit friendships, Color may catch on just yet.
You can see the feature in action on your Foursquare history page when you click on a check-in to see details.