The people at Path, a San Francisco-based social networking service, think there’s a better way to share photos with your friends, one that doesn’t involve sprinting to the nearest computer and begging your roommate to delete a picture of you soaking up Cuervo shots outside a strip club.
Path launched on Sunday as an iPhone application designed specifically for sharing photographs. You download the app, register your name, then start connecting with your friends and posting photo albums for all to see. And while there are already a slew of apps out there for that very purpose, what makes Path so interesting is the fact that it actively limits your social network. Users are only allowed to have 50 friends within their network. Think of it as the anti-Facebook.
The idea is straightforward enough: People want to share their experiences, but not with a snooping horde of semi-friends and seldom-seen acquaintances. Path gives users a way to share their personal moments with their closest friends, free of self-censorship. The 50-friend limit is based on research by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar, who found that most people really only have a maximum of 50 friends with whom they hold close personal relationships.
Developed by former Facebook employee Dave Morin, Path doesn’t have much in the way of future plans at this point. The service is currently limited to photo sharing via the iPhone application. However, if the idea of stripped-down social networking picks up, it might only be a matter of time before Path becomes the next trendy electronic social outlet.