Private social network Path has released an update for its iOS and Android apps that it says will give its more than 20 million users more control over capturing and sharing of moments. Included in this release are three features: private sharing, inner circle, and a $14.99 annual premium subscription model.
In some way, it appears that founder and CEO Dave Morin may have dug back into his Facebook roots when you think about what private sharing and an inner circle really is about. What these features do is further dissect the 150 friends you have on Path and segments them into a further group, either in an ad hoc fashion or by defining them as being akin to your consiglieres.
Earlier this year, Morin had raised the possibility of having a premium subscription model for the private social network. Today, that becomes a reality as Path begins taking steps in the direction of offering users what it hopes to be an outstanding subscription experience.
For just $14.99 a year, users can opt-in to receive the complete line of sticker packs and 8 photo filters that Path offers. In addition, you would also get early access to any new items that the service makes available for purchase. In a bit of a PBS-like moment, the company says the subscription would help it remain ad-free.
While this is obviously means for Path to increase its coffers, it certainly not the only way it’s making money. The company tells us that with stickers, it’s seen revenue double, although it didn’t provide any specific figures. However, people are engaging more with stickers as the number of comments has risen 25 percent since they were able to be inserted in-line.
Those interested in the subscription can choose to elect for the annual pass or on a monthly basis. Due to different payment policies, the monthly charge varies based on whether you’re on iOS or Android. As a result, if you’re on iOS, it’s $4.99 for a three month period and if you’re on Android, it’s $1.99 for a month.
But while you receive all the stickers and photo filters, you’ll be happy to know that they will transfer across platforms — they currently do not for individual sticker packs. That means if you’ve paid for an iOS subscription, and then jump over to a Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy S III to use Path, you will have all the packs and filters transferred over.
Path says that this is only the beginning for its premium model and will add new features that will enable further customization and personalization of your moments shared on the service.
Let’s start out with private sharing. In Path 3.2, while you may think that your friends are those you would trust with really personal or private information, there are times when you want to share moments only between close friends, but without alienating everyone else.
For example, I might be at Disneyland and want to share some photos of my niece and nephew. Prior to today, Path only allowed me to share with my entire friend list. But with private sharing, I can pick my family members to share temporarily and then go back to sharing with my extended list of friends for the next moment.
When you share a moment, there’s a button next to the lock that you can choose any number of people to include. In your timeline, when you click to see who saw a specific moment, the private post will only display the avatars of those with permission to see that moment. It’ll also be denoted with a lock.
Inner circle takes private sharing and expands it on a more permanent basis. With this feature, users can select which of their 150 friends do they absolutely trust to be added to this group. It could be your immediate family, teammates, very best friends, or you and your partner — define it any way you want.
As you might expect, placement in the inner circle isn’t permanent and you can add or remove friends from this category at any time. You can choose to share specific moments with this group by tapping on the star icon when you’re about to post a moment to Path. In your timeline, these events will be denoted with a star.
One thing that users will notice is that Path has made adjustments to its friend list so that it is now properly categorized once again, meaning that it’s no longer mis-mashed with its messaging list like it was before.
Currently only the traditional moments can be shared to your inner circle, so don’t plan on sharing your Nike+ runs with your group. This also includes the 13 recent partners Path added last month, including WordPress, Strava, Viddy, and the Bible.
With respect to notifications, Path has also added a new setting that allows you to receive updates specifically from those in the inner circle. You can also search for moments from its members too by tapping on the star icon located near your avatar. This isn’t something you can do in the search field at the top of the screen — we asked why and Path just seemed to find it to be a better fit.
Repathing has been disabled for inner circle and also private sharing moments.
One more thing: new partnership
Path has also formed a new carrier partnership, this time with telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom. Because of this relationship, Path can tap into the operator’s 37 million mobile and 22 million fixed network customers while also helping to bolster its user base — the application will now be pre-installed on HTC G3, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and X Cover 2 devices, starting in Germany.
Being in Europe isn’t anything new for Path, but as it seeks to expand internationally, having a large partner that has unfettered access to mobile devices could be a boon for the private social networking company.
The first European country Path is working on as part of this partnership is Germany. As a result, Deutsche Telekom users will receive a free premium subscription for one year.
— Path (@path) September 5, 2013
Photo credit: Johannes Simon/Getty Images
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