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Path: A Smaller, Better Version of Facebook
You may have noticed some people using an app called Path to post photos online recently. The app is so much more than that. It’s actually an amazingly beautiful smart phone app that chronicles key moments in your life and allows you to share those moments with a select group of friends.
Facebook But Better
In many ways, Path is what Facebook should be. Path limits you to 150 friends (formerly 50) and they do so intentionally. The ideas is that you aren’t really friends with 500+ people and when the number of “friends” gets out of control, as it often does on Facebook, your likelihood to share your life there starts to diminish greatly.
If you have a large number of friends on Facebook you’ve probably already seen this happen in your own life. As all you coworkers, aunts, uncles, former youth group leaders and cousins befriend you there, you have to be more and more selective about what you share there. We’re not talking about hiding secret sins or anything, folks. It’s just that you can no longer say that you dislike your aunt’s signature congealed salad surprise.
Path’s limit forces you to make some hard decisions but it also allows you a certain amount of freedom. Keeping it to your real friends makes the whole experience better.
Stunning Design and Usability
Path is different in a lot of other ways too. First, it looks stunning. It’s really what the Facebook app should look like. Facebook should seriously take note. The design and feel of this wonderful app is first class.
Watch this video to see it in action.
Share Everything and Then Some
As you’d expect, you can share photos, videos and status updates. You can also share locations you visit, songs you’re enjoying and, surprisingly, when you wake up or go to sleep. That might sound a little strange at first but it’s actually quite interesting to see when you friends go to bed and get up.
The photo and video sharing functions also includes lenses (think instagram filters) that allow you to create great effects.
Another interesting feature of Path is that it monitors when you change neighborhoods and updates those changes on the fly. (This can be disabled if you like but it’s very cool to see it in action.)
It’s Your Smart Journal
Path calls all this information together in one place a smart journal and it really is just that. It’s a great record of your life if you use it. You can even record a moment but keep it private.
I would worry about Path’s ability to win over users but it allows you to post your Path updates to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. You can also check in to locations with Path and Foursquare. In this way, Path really isn’t in competition with these other services as much as it just adds to them. I think this is pure genius and might help Path really gain some traction.
Perfect for Small Teams
I could really see small groups or possibly small leadership teams using this app to build a strong sense of community. Of course, everyone would have to have either an Android or iPhone for it to work.
Therein lies the biggest problem with Path and that is the fact that it’s smart phone only. There are time when I’ve wanted to share something while sitting at a computer and I’ve found it very inconvenient to have to go to my iPhone to do so.
If they added a basic web interface to Path the experience would be much better. Of course, at that point they’d really be going head to head with Facebook and perhaps they’re trying to avoid that.