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Finding the perfect paint color can be a challenging aspect of home ownership. With ColorSnap Glass, consumers can take a photo, share it with ColorSnap Glass, and the app matches colors in the photo to corresponding paint colors and sends back a color palette. Consumers can then visualize the colors on a selected surface, share their palettes and find the nearest store, all using voice and gesture control.

The biggest technology challenge was showing inspirational colors from a photo that a user cannot physically interact with. With the existing family of ColorSnap apps, desktop, smartphone and tablet users can select and adjust pixels they are most interested in. But this kind of user interaction doesn’t exist for Glass, so we needed an experience that could select colors the way a human eye would. To do this, we employed a series of image manipulation techniques, including color quantization, family grouping, and relationships pertaining to properties like vividness, lightness, darkness and density. We applied a continuous cycle of algorithm iterations against a set of diverse photo samples until the color selection was accurate.

The biggest design challenge was creating an experience that was both beautiful and easy to use on a 1/2-inch display with a 640x360 screen resolution. Simplicity and elegance were applied to the design and user experience.

Our app—adapted from the existing ColorSnap platform—was a novel use of this never-before-seen medium. Communications efforts were employed to educate consumers through detailed videos, media support, even its own website.

The technology stack for this iteration included Node.js and Google’s Mirror API web service. We are ready for the next stage of development, which involves moving from the Mirror API to the native Glass Development Kit, allowing photo colors to be processed in real time without an Internet connection.


When we joined the Google Explorer program, it was of utmost importance to push the boundaries of this groundbreaking wearable and create something that had real value to the consumer. So we reinvented the consumer experience through the lens of this new technology to provide a novel solution to a real consumer challenge: allowing people to find, capture and act on color inspiration, anytime and anywhere.

When ColorSnap Glass launched, Google Glass users were instantly hooked, and the news media celebrated the innovation. Within 48 hours, 5% of participants in the Glass Explorer program had downloaded and were using the app, while media outlets including The New York Times, Advertising Age and Mashable were singing the app’s praises, generating 30 million media impressions.

As Sherwin-Williams nears its 150th anniversary, we continue to lean forward and help the brand stand out as an industry innovator by reimagining the customer experience. We look forward to Google Glass’s widespread release, so we can put this application in the hands of even more consumers.

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