The discussion site Branch opened up to the public today, meaning anyone can start a multimedia-rich conversation and invite others to join. The startup also added two major new features, including the ability to highlight and comment on individual sentences in a "branch," which Branch's founders hope will make conversations more digestible as well as give authors more feedback. The other new feature is an "activity feed," which tells you which of your friends have viewed your branches, joined your groups, or highlighted something you've written. The company has also made it easier to start new branches and embed audio from Soundcloud and Spotify.
Branch's founders want the site to be a place where people talk about their passions and shared interests; Branch has become popular with a certain community of Dutch librarians, for example. The company's challenge is to make it easy to start conversations while keeping the quality of discussion high.