Path introduces social search that's more intuitive than Facebook

Path, a small social network designed to be more intimate than Facebook, introduced a new search feature on Thursday that lets you look back on moments you've shared with friends. You can search these moments by person, location, date, or even emotion.

Path.com
Path debuted a new search feature that lets you look back on moments you've shared with friends.

Want to know what your friends are doing right now? Facebook is a great place for that. You’ve got a constant stream of photos, messages, and updates that refreshes automatically and can be customized to show only those updates you’re interested in.

But if you’ve ever wanted to reminisce about parties, dinners, or other fun times you shared with friends, Facebook can come up short. It doesn’t really give you a way to look back on events you’ve attended with your friends -- short of just skimming down rows of pictures or scrolling backward through your Timeline.

Path, a small social-networking startup launched in late 2010, is taking a different approach. On Thursday, the company launched a new search interface that lets you get a little nostalgic by calling up different moments in your life.

Path’s whole network is built around moments -- a place you visited, a song you listened to, a photo you took with a friend. Those moments are then tagged not only with people, dates, and locations, but also with emotions. So you could search for surprising moments, and be rewarded with a photo album of, say, an unexpected birthday party.

Path bills itself as a “smart journal” that allows you to share your life with a close circle of friends. By design, it’s more modest and more private than open networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram: the company says “You should always be in control of your information and experience,” and each person’s network is limited to 150 contacts to encourage you to share with people you really know well. Path has about 5 million registered users, which is a vanishingly small fraction of what Facebook has -- but that’s the whole point.

Path’s new search also includes location, date, holidays, and seasons, among other parameters. You could, say, look back on moments that happened a year ago, or holidays that you shared with a certain group of friends. There’s also a nifty location feature that lets you instantly see moments that took place for you or your friends wherever you happen to be. (This might seem like a strange feature at first, but think about the next time you take a trip abroad: it’d be pretty useful to be able to guide yourself around a foreign city based on what your friends did when they were there.)

Path may never achieve the popularity of Facebook or Twitter -- but for those users looking to share details about their lives with close friends, and to be able to digitally reminisce about moments spent together, the small social network might be a refreshing change. 

For more tech news, follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffwardbailey.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.