Photo-sharing network says goodbye to privacy

How does a social network with no privacy settings at all sound? Because that’s the setup with Color, a new application from Bill Nguyen, the entrepreneur who sold Lala to Apple in 2009 for around $80 million.

Color is essentially a photo-sharing application, but one which decides for itself who sees your pictures, based on your location and how often you’ve shared photos in the past.

If two friends repeatedly use the app near each other, the app notes it and automatically bumps the other person up the dynamic ‘elastic network’ that it’s created. Users can also raise a friend’s profile through a ‘show more’ button.

In turn, the user sees pictures that have been posted recently from people who are nearby, regardless of whether they’re friends or strangers.

Everything that’s posted is therefore completely public, delivering a stream of pictures from the user’s phone to anybody within 100 feet. The company’s asking people to keep it clean, pointing out that everything posted is completely traceable.

The system decides how to share pictures on the basis of GPS signals, clues in the images themselves such as lighting and even ambient noise.

Color has already attracted hefty funding, with investment totalling $41 million from Sequoia Capital, m Bain Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.

And it’s pretty clear where the recenues will come from – advertisers. Imagine, for example, walking past a restaurant and seeing photos of previous customers tucking in. Companies could offer location-based deals in much the same way as sites like Groupon.

The app’s available now for the iPhone and Android.