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Big Red Picks Color for New Video Venture

Verizon Wireless has reportedly entered a multi-year partnership with Color, the Palo Alto company launched last year by serial entrepreneur Bill Nguyen of Lala fame.

Color offers an app for the iPhone and Android that lets users broadcast live video clips 30 seconds long to their Facebook friends.

As of Monday, Verizon 4G LTE handset owners will reportedly get access to a special version of the Color app that allows higher-quality video recording and live streaming.

“This kind of an app will drive up data consumption and push you into overages, and Verizon will stand to make a lot of money, at least until consumers get their first month’s bill,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld. “You do move a lot of data if you move video.”

Verizon did not respond to our request for comment for this story.

More on the Color App

The Color app will apparently be available to users who dial the word “color” on their smartphones.

The app will be embedded in 4G LTE smartphones from Verizon as a native app in the future.

The basic Color app doesn’t include sound, but the enhanced version for Verizon will reportedly add audio.

Initially, Verizon 4G LTE handset owners will be able to stream video with the Color app at 720p. The app will reportedly offer 1080p video later.

What Color’s App Does

The original Color app automatically created networks, somewhat like Google+ circles. Every photo a user took was stored on the Web and could be viewed by anyone close by whose phone had the Color app installed, setting up informal circles of friends.

The Color app identifies nearby devices that have a copy of it installed. Viewers can “like” photos they see or annotate them with comments.

The app doesn’t need users to name their friends or list contacts. It apparently watches the interactions of users and builds a network of friends based on real relationships, getting rid of connections with people with whom users don’t interact very frequently.

The Color app uses algorithms reportedly created with the help of D.J. Patil, a data scientist who worked at Google and LinkedIn.

Reinventing the Wheel?

Most newer smartphones let users upload photos and videos to Facebook and YouTube easily, and this raises the question of whether Verizon is perhaps throwing away its money in getting into bed with Color.

In its short life, Color quickly gained $41 million in funding but has met only limited success in gaining acceptance among users. It started life as an iPhone app, then in September was linked to Facebook’s Open Graph, but it hasn’t been able to leverage its links with the social networking giant the way competitors such as Socialcam have.

“Most folks aren’t aware they can upload to Facebook and YouTube directly from their smartphones,” Enderle said. “It’s easy to do this with a lot of smartphones, particularly the Nokia Lumia 900. Verizon is trying to promote this ability as an advantage, and try to drive people to use it.”

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