Path has already charmed at least a few mobile users away from Facebook with its beautiful interface. Version 2.5 of the social network launched this week with enormous photos and some new ways to connect people to their friends. It’s still beautiful, but the new features have turned it into, well, a streamlined version of Facebook.
First, Path simplified the process of shooting photos and videos with one tap. The tool comes with the same kinds of light filters popularized by Instagram, which Facebook bought out earlier this year. On the home feed, the images now fill the width of the screen, which helps on a pocket-sized smartphone. On Facebook, trying to view an image a mobile device is often a labor-intensive process, especially if there’s an album involved. Path’s layout a little easier to deal with.
Facebook has also been rolling out a slew of lifestyle apps this year through its Timeline, which have helped people discover new services like Spotify and Pinterest, as well as giving them something to post about other than what they had for lunch. Path users’ interests are simpler: they started out sharing snippets of songs; they can now recommend books and movies and get recommendations from friends. No game scores, no other networks to join, just a few interests to talk about.
And speaking of talking, there’s also a tool for recording a voice greeting. These can either be attached to an invitation to join Path, or to a “nudge,” which is a less aggressive form of the Facebook “poke.” Nudging is also how players remind each other to make a move on “Words with Friends.” On Path, it’s a gentle reminder to make an update or say hello.