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App to make a social network more personal

Toronto, December 27, 2011

Path, an application which allows users to connect to a small group of family and friends rather than a large network enabling users to share even more personal information about their lives, has been re-released this month.

Originally conceived as a way to post photos and videos for close family and friends to see, the app was re-launched as a "smart journal" to enable users to share more about their lives, a statement from a top official said.

"Because Path is a smaller network that's built for the people you love - the closest friends and family in your life - people are willing to share more intimate content as a result of that," said Matt Van Horn, a vice president at Path.

He added that although some of details of life might seem mundane when broadcast to the masses, they can take on a new light when shared with closer connections, the statement said.

"Taking a photo on the porch with your sister if you were to post to a larger network might not be that interesting. But if your mom, who is on the other side of the country, sees it then it's magical," he said.

The app also learns a user's habits, such as favorite places, and can recognise deviations in patterns and broadcast them to their 'path', the social stream visible to a user's connections.

Inspired by British anthropologist and Oxford professor Robin Dunbar, Path limits the number of social connections a user can have to 150 people. It is considered the upper limit of the number of trusted relationships a person can have, and is a direct function of our biology, it said.

The average user on Path has five to ten connections, the statement said.

Since its re-launch, Path has experienced a 30-fold increase in the number of daily users, according to its creators.

Although the app is free, users must pay for some features. But the company said it will not include ads on the site.

"We believe in creating quality products that our users will want to pay for," Van Horn said.

Path, available for iOS and Android devices, also integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr to allow cross-posting to the social networks.

Similar apps for creating digital journals include Momento and Day One, the statement said.

"Facebook changed the world. People were themselves for the first time, putting their real name on the Internet, and then connecting with every person they had ever met," said Horn.

"But we really believe the next generation of social is going to be personal." – Reuters




Tags: Canada | Application | family | Toronto | Social networking | Path | Personal | Friends |

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