Path takes laziness to a new level with business messaging
By Caitlin McGarry
Apps are making it a little too easy to avoid fellow humans. You don’t have to hail a cab, order food delivery over the phone, or even walk down to the
laundromat, all thanks to apps. But sometimes you have queries that need to be answered by actual people. Don’t worry: Path will handle that for you.
The social network, once considered a Facebook rival, in June spun off its chat feature into a stand-alone app called Talk—like Facebook
did with Messenger. Path also bought messaging app TalkTo, which lets you text a business with questions. Now Talk and TalkTo have been combined so you can message a place directly from Talk.
It’s an intriguing premise: Text a place with a question and wait for its response. But the way Talk really works is decidedly low-tech. You don’t message
a place, you actually message a Path agent who then calls the business to ask your question. Once the agent has an answer for you, you’ll get a Talk
message. This isn’t innovation. It’s a weird game of Telephone. Are you really such a misanthrope that you can’t pick up the phone and make your own hair
appointment or dinner reservation? The agents don’t have any sort of special access to the businesses you need to reach, and as The Verge noted, they don’t get answers any faster than
you could on your own.
Place messaging builds on existing Talk features like ambient status updates, which let your friends know where you are or if your battery is low, and
Snapchat-like disappearing messages. Path vice president Cynthia Samanian told The Verge that the company envisions Talk as the “hub for all your important
messages and communications.” But while an app that communicates with businesses on your behalf and broadcast your location to friends is certainly unique,
the world has reached peak messaging.
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