Dave Morin and Path’s secondary standalone app With “is winding down”, according to a tweet, email, and blog post from Path. “Now tweet who you’re with directly from Path”, the email explains. The encouraged migration signals the end of Path’s experiment with a stripped down, single feature experience.
Path’s blog posts says “After a long and friendly coexistence, two apps have become one. And the pair has settled on a name: Path 2.” With’s end just 6 months after its launch resurfaces the standalone vs comprehensive app debate. Companies have to decide whether their apps should provide many functions but bury them in menus, or offer rapid access to one function.
Path recently released its more comprehensive 2.0 update, which has led to 30x growth of the app’s user base. Rather than force users to waste home screen space and choose what they want to do first, Path 2.0 simply integrates With’s functionality. In addition to tagging who you’re “with”, you can share your sleeping habits, music, and now standard content like photos and location.
Morin’s former employer Facebook is moving in the opposite direction. This summer it released its standalone Messenger app based off of its acquisition Beluga, and we hear it’s still working on its standalone mobile photos app that leaked in June. I see this as a slippery slope where instead of bloat you get a fractured experience.
I like comprehensive apps that let me bounce from once use case to another without having to exit to the homescreen, so I’m happy to see With go. Often times the functions split between apps are highly related, and saving one extra click through a menu doesn’t seem to warrant downloading and updating an extra app. The With sunset will also keep Path’s team focused on building a distinct experience from Facebook and Twitter where you share a lot but to only your closest friends.
Path, the developers of the eponymous app for the iPhone, has come up with a mobile check in app with a focus on who you’re with. In their original app, Path, the developers focused more on sharing a picture or moment privately with a select group of friends. At a recent hackathon, the company saw that their users also wanted to selectively share their moments on public social networks, such as Twitter. They also saw a great demand for users tagging who they were with when sharing these moments. This is where the idea for With was born.
The core concept of With is as if you took the main features of Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram and combined them in a streamlined app. When you first install the app on your iOS device, it automatically asks for your Twitter login so you can post to your account and tag friends you are with. It also suggests friends who are also using the service.
When you’d like to share who you’re currently “With”, you are presented with a simple screen to tag who you’re with and what you are doing. You are then presented with the option to take a picture to document the moment. The picture is optional. It seems the developers are emphasizing who you are with. This then gets posted to your Twitter feed with a link to your picture.
This clearly takes features from other social networks, so why use With? The company says the service rewards friends who you are with the most often. They rise to the top of your profile when viewed from within the app. The company also has a couple of features coming out soon that will reward these close friends.
With their original app, I had a hard time grasping the appeal of Path, but with their latest project, I feel they have the right features, interaction and simplicity to keep users interested and using their service. It combines the check in features of Foursquare with the photo sharing features of Instagram in a simple app. You can read their announcement of With on their website and download the app on the iTunes App Store. Let us know if you like it in the comments below and tell us if this is something you could stick With.