After a long hiatus with no updates, several layoffs and a "realigning of the company," Path is back with some big changes. Messaging has broken off into a stand-alone app called Talk, the core app's navigation has been simplified, and newly-acquired messaging service TalkTo will exploit the popularity of text communication.
At first, I was confused by Path's decision to move messaging out the core app. Isn't it more efficient for one app to perform all functions? Path CEO Dave Morin believes that Talk will be a major part of his company's future business model. But before we get to that, we must discuss stickers.
Path released "sticker packs" about 18 months ago. Shortly after that, the company added a yearly subscription option to let customers acquire early-release stickers. All this to say that the sale of virtual goods has been a big part of Path's revenue stream.
The same was true of TalkTo. This service let people get answers from area businesses via text, like hours of operation, product availability, prices and more. Its premium subscription let customers pay a monthly fee to get their questions moved to the front of the queue.
TalkTo founder Stuart Levinson noticed that three-quarters of the questions his customers asked were about buying something, and that's what Morin hopes to capitalize on. "We want to bring a differentiated and powerful new use case to our users," he told TechCrunch. "We want to bring commerce and messaging together in a way that is user-first."
The core app
The UI has received a big update. Now, all of the buttons are at the bottom of the screen, meaning that cool slide-out panel that was always "behind" your timeline is gone. Meanwhile, tapping to leave a comment on a friend's post offers two options: "Comment" and "Message." The former works as expected while the latter prompts you to install the Talk app or pushes you to Talk if it's already installed.
Other changes include a boost in the number of friends you can have. Formerly topping out at 150, you can now have as many as you like. Finally, the sticker store is still there, though I think it's harder to find. You must tap to add a comment, then hit the emoticon button and finally the store icon in the lower left. No more "swipe, tap" to jump right to it..
I've fallen in and out of love with Path several times. Today, my extended family and I use it to keep tabs on each other's activities, and that's working out fine. Here's to seeing what's next.