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Path 2.0 hands-on: new UI, sharing options, 150 friends

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Social network Path updated to version 2.0 today, with new sharing capabilities and a larger maximum number of friends.

Path 2.0 (Good)
Path 2.0 (Good)

"Personal network" app Path launched last year with a lot of excitement over its focus on your core 50 friends, but the hype quickly subsided as users realized they could only to share with... 50 friends. Now, the company's trying again with Path 2.0, which broadens Path's scope a little and brings a gorgeous new UI to its app. The biggest change is that you're now allowed 150 friends on Path, three times the original maximum. The update also adds a number of new ways to share where you are or what you're doing: you can share the song you're listening to and let your friends listen to it, where you are, or even whether you're awake or asleep. You can do it all without thinking about it, too — Path's new Automatic mode will track you as you travel and share when you're in a new place. The company is hoping that since your friend group is smaller and more curated, you'll feel more comfortable sharing these details than you might on Twitter or Facebook.

I downloaded the new app, which is available now for Android and iOS, and it's beautiful. The UI is simple and looks great, with a small "+" button on the bottom left that springs out a wheel of sharing options. The app works well, too, tracking my location as I walked around New York City. But no matter how much I might like it or how much CrunchFund wants to invest, the problem remains that of my hundreds of Facebook friends only four were on Path, and even they appeared to have only signed up, and aren't actively using the service. Path connects in a few ways to Facebook, but that connection could be much deeper; with Facebook and Twitter so entrenched, adding another network that doesn't leverage the friends and information I already have is a tough sell, no matter how beautiful its app is.