Two apps that show the depth of what Facebook shipped today

Mark Zuckerberg

Today Mark Zuckerberg announced a sweeping set of changes to Facebook. If you, for some weird reason, weren’t aware of the changes there’s LOTS of press coverage over on Techmeme. So, instead of rehashing that, I thought I’d go and talk with developers.

Here’s the insights from them. What are they? Color (a new kind of life-sharing app for mobile phones) and Social Reader (a new kind of social news reader from the Washington Post).

First, a look at Color. Yes, this is the app that was Silicon Valley’s biggest startup “failure” in quite a while. But here it’s back and back in a HUGE way. I really am having fun with this app, which is totally integrated into Facebook and does a lot more than the old version (live video, for instance). Really amazing. Sign up for the beta at

Note how they are using Facebook’s platform to hold ALL data. This is a new move for Silicon Valley startups.

Now, let’s look at the Social Reader, from Washington Post. This is a web-based app that sits entirely in Facebook. Now you can see what your friends are reading (and they can see what you are reading). Try that at

This is most cool.

These two apps show how EVERYTHING in your life will be touched by social technologies. Great stuff.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at


      1. I watched it, but I’m trying to imagine a use case that I would personally use. You are visiting, but the difference from facetime, etc., is one to many. I’m not sure what I would do with it. I suppose it would be useful for following celebrities, etc, if visitors can chat with each other.

  1. Could someone please tell the interviewer to shut-up and let the guy from Color actually talk and not constantly interrupt him? Not a facebook fan, but would have loved to hear the guy talk.

    1. Robert seems to think that if Zukerberg wants to know our ever emotion it is just fine and dandy. But this is a guy who has sold-out his own children’s privacy long before they were capable of providing informed consent. Nice.

      Color is so lame it is funny. Bill has lost the plot on VC funding fumes and thinks everything he does is ‘awesome’ when it just confusing the rest of us.

      Color just got pwned…

      Made by me in less than a minute from my iPad.

  2. If I had a dollar for every person who tells me they have this new idea, this new website that will “compete with Facebook.” I like Color’s approach, what they figured out, is to partner with, or to build on top of the Facebook platform.

  3. Could not find Color on iPhone apps yet and guess will have to wait for full release – sounds great!
    Thanks as always Robert for excellent info!

  4. Does the Washington Post share the ad revenue generated from ads when people are reading the WP Social Reader?

  5. I watched the video, but I still don’t know what Color is… They explain what they’re doing, but not what they are there for. He needs an elevator commercial up-front. He needs to realize there are people watching him who have never heard of him before… He needs to orient people. From a marketing perspective, people should not be saying, “I don’t get Color.” That needs to be fixed with good succinct copy and tagline.

  6. Love the social reader!  And am happy to see the pivot for Color — the technology actually has a LOT of uses — I’m sure they can monetize through licensing — I have an application I’ve already written a app description for that uses it :)   And the verb their success hinges on:  VISIT

  7. Somewhat off-topic, but top-right on this page there is supposed to be some link to you on G+. Currently it looks like this:
    Couldn’t get data from google+

  8. Hey Robert. I wish you’re reading this and if you’re are then tell me why isn’t my Spotify and Hulu activity not appearing on my friends’ ticker or my news feed.

  9. can’t you do 2 minute excerpts please? 8 minutes and 30+ minutes are great for those with immense time and deep interest… but would be great to get a summary to see if it’s worth digging into… 

  10. Color is awesome! they are doing a great job. I now have a good reason to have a smartphone for myself (I knew I couldn’t avoid it forever) :)

  11. Robert “gets” Color because he loves the idea of nobody has any privacy.  Everything should be public all the time.  I personally don’t understand his obsession with this but I am probably the opposite of this and a very private person.  This is why people aren’t getting Color.  It’s just another way for people to be as public as possible.  So putting color in facebook makes sense.  A site that wants you to be as public as possible is a perfect match for an app that wants you to be as public as possible.  That’s what you get when you build data mining businesses like color and facebook.

  12. Wow! was I surprised to see all the required permissions to drive this app. I guess that’s needed to enable the features – but, it’d have to be a barrier to some people. Maybe they need a “lite” version to reduce uptake friction.

    1. Bleeding edge – this is a game changer – i know  that the dependence on facebook may deter people BUT the open graph is stable and sustainable through facebook as a subscription/platform…FaaS…this is the data base of all data bases…data bases to rule all databases … will frodo be our savior?? Robert your 45 min. identity recording with Google+ becoming an/is a identity company – what are your views now with these updates to the social world online?

  13. Interesting idea. I mean it’s cool that they can put this all together… I’m just not sure when I’d use it. But hey, I never thought I’d be sending messages to strangers before and it looks to me like i just did. :)  Anything’s possible.

  14. I just got a $827.89 Samasung Galaxy Tab for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HTV for only $251.92, they are both coming tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prîces at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use

  15. From a tech point of view these apps are fantastic and i can see uses in other areas for my clients.  However I think there is a bigger point to note here – do we actually WANT to share everything about our lives with everyone?  I’m not sure I do.

  16. what a crock. 

    get some REAL BOOKS….read some READ LITERATURE. 


    WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!



    THINK FOR URSELF!!! do not give in to this B*LLSHIT!!!!!