Does the world need another messaging app? Path thinks the answer is yes, and is launching Talk for iOS and Android today, a new IM app that integrates real-world context into the chat process. Building on the basic messaging functionality Path introduced in March last year, Path Talk introduces Ambient Status, a system the software company says will automatically update your contacts with your current status.
Rather than users having to manually update the app with status messages, Talk automatically does that itself by trying to figure out what the current situation is.
That might include proximity – such as telling two Path Talk users that they’re near each other – or whether they’re currently in transit. There’s also music status updates, whether someone is working out (and thus, if running, unlikely to be replying to IMs), and even battery condition.
Exactly how well it will work will depend on the balance of granular detail and privacy, but there are already some interesting signs of contextual building. For instance, by tying together location and weather, Path can not only say where a user is, but what the climate is there, too.
As for actual messaging, there’s support for text, image, voice, map, music, movie, book, video, and stickers in conversations, along with a new feature, Quick Replies. Four shortcuts – nudge, acknowledge, call, or deny – are available for speedy replies when there’s no time to type out a full sentence.
Path’s image sharing features also get a refresh with the new app’s arrival, dropping the 150 person limit on groups, and tidying up the UI to make sharing easier.