Path’s New App Kong Is A Selfie GIF Creation Machine
Most individuals know Dave Morin’s Path for its eponymous social networking app, which sought to create a extra intimate place for cellular customers to share with their closest pals. However after 4 years spent focusing totally on that app, the corporate now needs to be recognized for creating an entire bunch of various merchandise.
That begins at this time with the launch of Kong, an app for iOS and Android that may be a massive departure from its earlier choices. The app, being launched at the moment, is designed to create a brand new sort of social interplay constructed round sharing brief, looping GIFs of your face.
Embracing The Selfie
At its core, Kong provides customers the power to seize and share brief, visible snippets of themselves with individuals they could know via the app and buddies on different social networks. Nevertheless it’s additionally a bit greater than that. Kong is a gaggle messaging platform and a meme machine, and it represents a brand new mind-set about how we construct and work together with social feeds.
The primary mechanics of the app are fairly straightforward to know: When logged in, customers merely push a button within the backside of the display to report a brief, animated selfie. They will additionally faucet their display so as to add textual content (or emojis), swipe so as to add filters, and select to share inside numerous channels created by the group.
As soon as captured, a picture shall be shared with different members on Kong. However it can be saved as a GIF or as a video, shared by way of SMS or e mail, or uploaded to different social networks, like Fb, Twitter, or Instagram.
Past being only a GIF creation app, Kong additionally hopes to create a type of viral group made up of customers enjoying off towards each other. Whereas customers can — and will! — share their GIFs with associates on different networks, what makes Kong enjoyable is the totally different channels that customers might be invited to or self-choose to be part of.
Group is necessary to creating Kong enjoyable, which is why the app goes to nice lengths to make sure that customers have one thing to take a look at once they enroll. Once you first log in, the app will recommend customers to comply with based mostly on a hashed model of your contact record. That features pals which are already utilizing the app, in addition to some individuals you may know however aren’t in your contacts.
Photographs created present up in a consumer’s house feed, or may be shared in several channels of content material. Channels can vary from the wacky (#uglycry, #chubbybunny) to the mundane (#music, #espresso), and may also be created to cowl particular locations or subjects of dialog (#sanfrancisco, #applekeynote).
One of many key differentiators for Kong is that customers can solely have one picture lively in any given channel. That’s necessary, as anybody acquainted the interface dominant on networks like Twitter or Instagram — or, for that matter, Path! — is aware of how irritating it may be to have a single pal spam their feeds.
For Kong customers, that’s a welcome choice. In any case, nobody actually needs to see a feed filled with a single individual’s selfies.
The First In A New Era Of Path Apps
Those that have used Path’s first two apps is perhaps somewhat stunned by Kong. In any case, it lacks lots of these apps’ design parts — like their heat purple backgrounds, consumer avatars, and cartoonish emoji symbols.
By comparability, Kong is shiny and flashy, awash in several colours. In accordance with Path co-founder Dustin Mierau, who was behind the design, Kong is created so that every particular person consumer may have a special colour palette when wanting within the app.
With a view to perceive why the app seems to be and acts the best way it does, it’d assist to know how Path acquired right here.
The launch of Kong comes as Path seeks to re-invent itself. After 4 years of being most intently related to its first, eponymous app, Path is embarking on a multi-app technique for the longer term.
Co-founder and CEO Dave Morin first introduced plans to roll out a number of new merchandise with the launch of its Path Speak app final fall, and ever because the firm has been engaged on constructing quite a few totally different ideas.
Kong isn’t the primary new app that the staff labored on — nor will it’s the final — nevertheless it was the primary really new idea that excited them sufficient to completely develop and launch.
How To Construct A Meme Machine
The thought for the app happened because the workforce tried to determine a brand new solution to spur interplay between customers taking selfies.
“Final summer time we have been making an attempt to bounce round concepts and thought, ‘What’s a extra significant option to join individuals than via their faces?’” Path founder Dave Morin stated. “We have been fascinated with the thought of, ‘What if we created a faces-solely app?’”
They began engaged on the thought in July, and by September had a prototype up and operating. It began out as only a grid of six faces on a display. In its earliest iterations, the pictures weren’t even GIFs, they have been simply boring previous static selfies.
For earlier apps, the Path group had sketched out what it needed to construct by way of Photoshop earlier than going closely into the event course of. However this time round, they determined to only get a product on the market in beta and iterate on it based mostly on consumer suggestions.
“Cellular is a difficult factor to design for,” Morin informed me. “Photoshop doesn’t inform an excellent story of what the interactions are going to be like, so this has been a really deeply prototype-oriented course of.”
The corporate launched early variations of the Kong app to a small variety of customers and over the subsequent a number of months let the small group assist determine which options must be added, and which ought to be taken away. By watching how customers interacted with the app and with one another, the group constructing Kong began to determine what its killer options can be.
That iteration began with the addition of motion and enabling customers to create GIFs by way of the app. However quickly the idea expanded to incorporate channels, which could possibly be each private and non-private.
The primary channel was one the Path workforce constructed for itself, as a means for workers to check out the app and play off each other. However as extra customers joined the beta model of the app, they spawned new channels of content material round totally different subjects and actions. Many channels quickly turned house to their very own Kong-based mostly memes, spurred on by a type of name-and-response between customers.
(Within the Path channel, that present itself with staff imitating no matter Morin was doing each time he contributed to the feed.)
The Kong staff is making an attempt to actively get individuals to share with a “prompt channels” feed that seems under these a consumer already subscribes to. These recommendations shall be up to date over time to assist create new memes that customers may contribute to.
The hope is that channels will start to take off on their very own. Given early suggestions from customers who’re recurrently contributing, that doesn’t appear to be will probably be an issue. Whereas it’s gotten some suggestions whereas in beta, the Path group expects to study an entire lot extra as soon as it opens the floodgates to new customers.
However one factor’s sure: Path hopes to maintain the app free over time. With regards to monetizing, the corporate will look to associate with manufacturers to create channels associated with their merchandise, Morin stated.
That looks like a great distance off, although. For now, simply take pleasure in your new free selfie GIF creation app.