path

A brand new anti-social personal network, Path was launched today, with the release of its iPhone app. It is a private photo sharing app similar to Instagram, except that it makes sharing photos more difficult than it needs to be.

Path is founded by former Facebook Platform Manager Dave Morin, Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning and backed by a blinding cast of star investors.


How Path Works?

Path is designed to share photos with only your closest 50 friends, primarily through the app itself. You can’t Tweet out links to your photos or share them on Facebook. It is very much for personal photos and private moments, the kind of pictures you share with family and very close friends. When a friend looks at one of your photos, you’re notified that they have in real time.

For each moment that you capture and add to your Path, you will see which of your friends have seen the moment in real-time. The idea is that understanding enables trust and storytelling amongst close friends and family. We hope you feel like more of your close friends are seeing life through your eyes than ever before.

Why Path has a tough road ahead?

As Erick Schonfeld writes, the problem with Path is that for many people, many of the family members or friends don’t necessarily have an iPhone (or other smartphones). They can still see the pictures on the Web, but you really need the app to place photos back into other people’s streams.

Schonfeld goes on to predict that “the types of photos people are going to share on Path by and large are going to be the same as the photos you see already in more public photo-sharing apps: meals, drinks, friends, kids, cats, dogs, and the random dross of daily life. Knowing that it is “private” and “safe” is not going to change much of anything.” And I feel he is bang on the target here.

How often would you find a need to share a private pic with your close set of friends and family members? A better privacy model would be to make photos public by default and allow for a private mode with certain photos to be shared only with select individuals or a core inner circle.

Path is so much anti-social that you can’t even comment on a pic shared by your near and dear ones. You put up photos, see other people’s photos, and that’s it. No discussion allowed. It does not even allow users to post photos from their existing phone photo albums. What more? You cannot follow someone back who has already followed you, unless you enter their email. Whoa!

Update: RWW has an interesting post where they list out 10 things you can’t do on Path.

As much as I appreciate them for making their own rules and treading an unknown path, I don’t see much of a future unless they overhaul the system drastically in the near future.

You can check out Path on iTunes store. Feel free to shoot in your comments.


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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp