Today, my friends at Path launched their debut app in the App Store. Path is built around the idea that people have a certain network of friends that they trust, which is to say, in contrast of a lot of how social networking currently works on the web. On Twitter, anyone can “follow” me. On Facebook, I have over 1,000 “friends” though I would admit that 80% of them are likely just acquaintances. With Path, I’m actually limited with the number of people that I can connect with. And connections actually work in a different way, too. Rather than “friending” someone, or allowing someone to follow me, I explicitly share my photos with close friends. Think of this as a reverse follow mechanism like you’d see on Twitter.
The closest comparison that people have drawn initially are to Instagram, and while I won’t gloss over that comparison, I will say, the intention is different here. There are no filters, no mass “friending” mechanisms, no real “ego” play at all. Path is about sharing your most important moments with your closest, and most trusted friends. They actually limit the number of people you can share your “Path” with to just fifty. This is based on some research that Robin Dunbar did years ago. His research led him to the conclusion that humans really only have the capability of being true friends with 150 people, and only trust somewhere between 40 and 60 people. This is where Path draws its limited sharing capacity from. The forced limitation means I’m much more careful about who I connect with, since it’s like spending some kind of social currency every time I let someone see my Path.
Features and psychology of the app aside, it’s by far one of the most gorgeous in the App Stores to date. I’ve known their CEO, Dave Morin for a few years now, and have always known him to have an incredible attention to detail. That same attention to detail really shines in this app.
I’ve been really impressed with how well they’ve been able to keep it stealth for so long. I’m very proud of my friends at Path, and look forward to see what they’ve got up their sleeves next.