Path for Apple iOS, Android: Mobile Social Network Review

Path, a free app for Apple iPhone and Android. Just revved this month on both platforms, the so-called smart journal app targets mobile users and limits you to 150 friends. A reasonable limit, in my opinion.

>Path is now in version two for iOS and Android mobile devices. Our Josh Windisch takes a look. Here’s his review.

Path is, yes, yet another social network. Why would you want a new one? Well, presumably, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of people you have to deal with on Facebook and Twitter. A lot of us are.

So I took a look at Path, a free app for Apple iPhone and Android. Just revved this month on both platforms, the so-called smart journal app targets mobile users and limits you to 150 friends. A reasonable limit, in my opinion.

Path lets you post and share within six categories: photos, people, places, music, status updates and sleep. The idea is you share who you’re with, what you’re listening to, where you’re at and when you’re out cold. To create a post around any of those categories, just tap the symbol in the bottom left corner, as you see below.

And Path does something that no other social networking app does: It records your sleep schedule. So before you turn in, tell Path you are going to sleep. A moon graphic will rise. The screen turns dark purple and will show the time only. When you wake up, tap Wake Up and it’ll tell you how long you slept. It also turns off all notifications from Path when you’re asleep, which is nice.

What makes Path different from your typical social network is that its design is mobile from the ground up. It displays everything chronologically. As you scroll down, a little clock appears to show you what time each post was made.

What makes Path different from your typical social network is that it is so natural to use on a mobile platform. Mobile is the point. It displays everything chronologically, and as you scroll down a little clock appears to show you what time each post was made.

It’s beautiful in its design, too. No clutter. You’ve got the option to display your own cover photo, which is displayed as the background to your profile view. Reacting to posts is more sophisticated here, too. Where Facebook only allows you to like things, Path lets you smile, frown, gasp, laugh at or love a post. And comment, of course.

Path works as a platform allowing you to post to your existing networks on Twitter, Facebook, ¬†Tumblr and Foursquare. It’s a metanetwork, in that sense. Or you can opt to keep your thoughts private.

There are a few negatives. One is that you can’t have your photos post to something like Instagram in addition to Path. Photos also don’t show up natively from most Twitter apps, either. And there’s also a lot missing from the music category. You check in to what you’re listening to in order to share it — just as you check into a place on FourSquare — but it isn’t always easy to find exactly what you are listening to.

The sleep feature, cool as it is, gets annoying quickly. It’s easy to forget to wake up on Path. And if you do forget, it will show you got some ridiculous amount of sleep and there’s no obvious way to change that.

I’d love to see a built in alarm clock so Path will wake you up instead of the built-in iPhone or Android clock. That way you’d be sure not to forget to change your sleep status.

These negatives aren’t deal breakers, though. Bottom line is, I think Path is a pretty neat social network to have on your mobile phone. It sure has come a long way since makers Shawn Fanning and partners introduced it in 2010 as just a place to post photos of places you go. It now has a lot more options in this most recent revision, newly available for iOS and Android. And I find it to be a great way to share a journal of my life with just my closest friends.

The newest release 2.x, dated January 2012, is available now in the Apple App Store and in the Android Market. And it is free.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Josh Windisch. Got an app you want me to check out? Shoot me an email at Josh@aNewDomain.net

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