LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And then try to build around 'em.
That's the lesson learned by Internet entrepreneur Bill Nguyen after trying unsuccessfully to build a social network that would compete with Facebook, which debuted as a public company Friday.
Nguyen's mobile phone service, called "Color," tried to get people to share photos and texts with others who are physically nearby. After debuting in March last year, the app failed to get many people to fill out their profiles, since they had already spent years doing so on Facebook.
"They had already made such an investment in Facebook as a platform," Nguyen says. "We tried to bite off more than we could chew."
That didn't cause Nguyen to shut down the company. With much of the $41 million in venture capital still unspent over the last year and a half, he revamped the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company to integrate Facebook profiles and data into "Color," while changing its focus to sharing live video snippets with friends.
On Saturday, this new feature gets a big push from "Saturday Night Live." Cast members will broadcast 30-second live snippets from backstage during commercial breaks in a partnership with Verizon Wireless, which wants to show off the power of its "4G LTE" network. Only people with a Verizon Wireless phone can broadcast using audio in a multi-year exclusive deal. Tuning in is possible with iPhones or Android-powered devices on other networks.
"This takes tweeting to the next level," says Kristi Crum, Verizon Wireless' executive director of consumer solutions.
Users must download the app and then "like" the SNL or Verizon Wireless pages on Facebook. They'll hear a doorbell chime notifying them to tune in. The video definitely isn't in high-definition, and watching a clip takes up less than 1 megabyte of data.
In a test run on Tuesday, SNL's Jay Pharoah tried to eat a small bowl of limes with comic results.
Jay Pharoah Writers' Night Lime Challenge: http://bit.ly/JSLaTl