Path, the social network specifically for close friends and family, is getting even more exclusive.
The San Francisco-based social network announced a handful of new features on Thursday, including two new ways for users to share posts with targeted groups of friends. Path already limits the number of friends a user can have to 150, but “users wanted to create a smaller subset of the Path network,” said Cynthia Samanian, product manager at Path. “Regardless of how many friends you have, there is still a need for more control.” The two new features, Inner Circle and Private Sharing, enable users to share moments only with specific, pre-selected groups.
In order to use Private Sharing, users can click on a padlock icon just above their phone’s keyboard, then specify who they wish to share their post with. The private post will then display a matching padlock icon in the upper right-hand corner of the post when viewed by a friend, indicating that it is only available to certain users. There is no limit to how many friends can be included in a private post, but these groups cannot be saved, meaning users need to specify which friends can read a post each time they choose to share one privately, Samanian said.
The new Inner Circle feature is somewhat similar to Private Sharing, but involves more than just sharing posts. With Inner Circle, users can select a small subset of friends they wish to engage most closely with on a regular basis, according to Samanian. (For example, a user may choose to include only direct family members or a spouse in their Inner Circle.) Unlike Private Sharing, which is only relevant when sharing moments and posts, users can build their Inner Circle into all aspects of the app. They can share posts exclusively with them, filter their feed to only show posts from their Inner Circle friends, and even set up email and push notification alerts for posts from members of their Inner Circle.
Users choose people to include in their Inner Circle by selecting the star icon listed beside each friend’s name on the friends list. Similar to the padlock icon used in Private Sharing, a post shared with a user’s Inner Circle will have a star icon in the upper right-hand corner to denote its significance.
The Inner Circle feature is similar to how Google+ allows users to group their connections. However, Path only allows users to have one group, meaning you can’t have one circle for family and another for colleagues like you can on Google+. Samanian said Path is not looking to add more circles at this time, and instead plans to “keep things simple.”
In addition to the new sharing features, Path added one other update in an attempt to help with monetization: Path Premium. Path does not allow ads on its site, so it needs to find other ways to make money from its 20 million registered users. So far, the company’s monetization strategy relies on users purchasing “sticker packs” and camera filters, which they can use to enhance their posts.
The premium package gives users unlimited access to items from the platform’s online shop, plus early access to new items as they become available, Samanian said. The price for a year-long Path Premium membership is $14.99.
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