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Social network Path has opened its API today, but don’t get excited yet developers. It’s only open to Nike for now, which Path partnered with to create “Step Out.”
“Step Out” allows you to connect your Nike Run application with Path, and publish your daily runs to the application. Your updates from Nike Run and more automatically sync to your Path stream, with your followers able to see the start of your run, cheer for you mid-run, how long your run was, and where you started your run. When your run is finished, Path will show a map of your exercise as well as anyone who cheered for you and where on your run they sent you the love. Users will be able to turn off the automated updates if they choose.
But many are going to ask, why start with Nike? Path chief exec Dave Morin says that Path is supposed to be about personal experiences, and what’s more personal than your health? In the future, Path will extend its API to Nike’s FuelBand so friends can learn more about your exercise habits. There are other kinds of physical-activity-monitoring bands out there today, such as the Jawbone Up, which was recently taken off the market.
“We love what Jawbone’s doing, [but] Nike we think is one of the pioneers here,” said Morin at a press event at Path’s offices in San Francisco. “It’s obviously out in the market now. We wanted to start with health, and Nike is here today.”
Vanity, however, is an issue for a lot of social networks and Path is attempting to keep that down by limiting the amount of “friends” you can have to 150 people. Morin explained that people are actually “begging” Path to keep this limitation, as some believe it grows an environment of intimacy, where small amounts vanity are okay.
In addition to the API, Path enhanced its camera and music functions. Currently, people can share what music they’re listening to at any point in time. Morin wanted people to be able to hear a song they don’t know, however, and be able to share it. Path worked with Gracenote to create a “Music Match” function for the app. Like any music-matching software, you put your phone up to the sound, it recognizes the music, and can pull the name to be added to your path.
But as any Path user likely knows, photos are the most popular kind of content on Path.
“We refined all the free lenses,” said co-founder Dustin Mierau. “They were pretty good before, but we thought they could be better. … I’m much happier with them myself.”
The new lenses allow you to enhance your photos after the fact, but a new camera function allows you to control both focus and exposure while you’re taking a picture.
Path reinvented itself into “Path 2” 16 weeks ago and since the relaunch, it has acquired around two million users. Morin explained that Path is attracting repeat users, 70 percent of which are return users. These users have already uploaded nearly 100 million moments on Path and have shared over one billion times.
As for how it will continue to make money as the product grows, Path says it will continue to lean on the sale of camera lenses as well as affiliate fees for iTunes sales. In the future, it may turn toward advertising but not in the traditional sense.
“If we were ever to do advertising, it would be some kind of content. Something we haven’t even thought of yet.”
The app upgrades are available for iOS and Android, though the latter will not receive the camera functions yet.
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