Mobile social network Path rolls out powerful new search feature
Dec 21, 2012 (Los Angeles Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A social network has rolled out a powerful new feature that lets you scroll through memory lane. And it's not Facebook.
Path is the social network started by former Facebook executive Dave Morin that was built from the ground up for mobile devices. This week it rolled out a major update to its more than 5 million users: a simple way to sort through thousands of "moments" they have shared with their closest friends.
Path is far more intimate than Facebook, it's like a mobile diary or journal carried in your pocket that lets you share with up to 150 friends.
On Facebook, the search bar is handy for finding other Facebook users, but not for much else. On Path, you can now instantly search through all your memories. Even better, Path gives you search aids: such as searching by friends, holidays, emotions, seasons or locations.
And it has added a new "Nearby" feature that shows you all the moments you and your friends have shared in your vicinity, which can be especially helpful if you find yourself in a new neighborhood or city or a foreign country.
"It's a powerful idea: having your life all in one place," Morin said in an interview this week. The new features let Path users "search back through time to rediscover moments and memories."
"We are 100% focused on the user and their memories, being able to remember things," he said. "We think this enhances their life because they have access to this powerful tool."
Search is clearly crucial to the future of Facebook and other social networks. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that Facebook processes more than a billion queries a day without "even trying."
"Search engines are really evolving toward giving you a set of answers," Zuckerberg said, "like, I have a specific question, answer this question for me. And when you think about it from that perspective, Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of the questions that people have. That's one obvious thing that would be interesting for us to do in the future."
Not only did Path with 50 employees beat Facebook to the search, it's also distinguishing itself from Facebook in how it plans to make money. While Facebook has turned into a powerful advertising engine, often rankling users and privacy watchdogs, Path plans to generate revenues by offering users premium services.
Facebook-owned Instagram had to do a very public about face this week over privacy concerns after it attempted to change its terms of service in a way that suggested it would have the right to turn its users' photographs into advertisements.
"Our commitment is to building a sustainable social network," Morin said.
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