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Path just widened its cozy little social network by partnering with your favorite apps

why it matters that path is expanding its api partnerships screen shot 2013 08 13 at 4 04 52 pm

Path is still a little, intimacy-driven social network, overshadowed by its more established competition and occasionally plagued by problems.

But the app just announced a slew of new, important partnerships and expanded its API, which means it increased the amount of partnerships it had with other applications. Some of these applications will be available immediately, while others will pop up in the near future. 

This could draw more developer attention to the platform. Path inched into this kind of partnership last year when it teamed up with Nike to let users show each other their workouts, but this most recent announcement heralds a substantially broader opening up – now, Path users will have integrations with popular applications like WordPress and Viddy. And that’s just the start: There’s an app for sharing Bible quotes and another for bragging about your bicycling training program. 

“From more workout moments, to photo moments, to thought moments, we have worked closely with these developers to ensure that sharing to Path is a seamless and beautiful experience.” Path’s blog touted the expansion as a boon for users, and it is. But it’s also a very necessary step to keep up with the competition. 

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The major social networks approach their API programs in different ways, but they all allow many developers to create integrated applications – even streamlined Instagram. Right now, developers have to request access to Path’s API, so not just anybody can integrate their app with Path. These developers have to provide stats about their apps on Android or iOS, so partners are limited to those who already have established apps on those mobile platforms.

Facebook is far more open with its API, and lets basically any eager developer create their own app. Instagram makes developers register, but that’s about it, and Twitter employs a detailed “Rules of the Road” to encourage developers to use the API responsibly. 

Path’s decision to limit how many and which developers integrate apps onto its platform suggests that the service is still interested in being a more exclusive, tighter-knit experience. But as the company increases the amount of partnerships it has, it may ease up on its current standards and be more like Facebook. 

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